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The Pauley Tix of Dancing — The 2016-17 UCLA Basketball season is in full swing now, with the Bruins improving to 2-and-0 after their tougher-than-expected victory over overmatched Cal State Northridge

Let’s talk about UCLA Basketball, because I don’t want to think about Bruin Football too much this week.  With the pigskin Blue & Gold a 12-point Underdog at home this Saturday in the Rivalry game, I’m not the only one dreading the weekend.  So let’s switch the focus to Hoops.  The Bruins overcame a surprisingly difficult challenge from CSUN on Sunday to extend their winning streak to 2 games with a 102-87 victory.  The game was TIED 55-55 with under 15 minutes left, so the final margin may be a little bit deceiving.

Counting the exhibition game, UCLA has now scored in triple-digits in all three games this year, albeit against cupcake competition.  Still, the pace has been uptempo, with Freshman Lonzo Ball energizing the team in transition — in transition to being a decent team that doesn’t suck any more.

The Bruins are still missing two injured players who should give them the much-needed depth required to compete in the Pac-12, and maybe in the Big Dance.  Until those players return, UCLA is vulnerable, especially with the foul trouble being caused by the Refs calling the games WAY too tightly.  Two “real” games, against teams with no “real” chance of competing effectively in March Madness, is not enough to draw any legitimate conclusions, although just like I said after the games in Australia, Lonzo Ball is for real.  T.J. Leaf looks to be the real deal as well, and if the third Freshman (Ike Anigbogu) comes back from injury, the Bruins will be a factor in the Conference race.

In this last game, Gyorgy Goloman had his best game ever, which also bodes well.  Thomas Welsh had a bad shooting night, but that is unlikely to continue.  The bigger issue is Bryce Alford’s continuing desire to be the hero, forcing too many shots when there are better options available.  His Dad needs to rein him in.  Once he improves his shot selection and takes higher-percentage shots, the Bruins’ Offense might be able to continue their triple-digit output against the better competition that lies ahead.  They better, because their Defense is still suspect.  Opposing players are penetrating too easily, and until Ike returns, there is not enough resistance in the interior.  Welsh has blocked a lot of shots, but he will need a lot of help as the better teams appear on the schedule.  If CSUN can stay even with the Bruins for 25 minutes, what will Oregon and sc do?  The Bruins OWE some payback to sc for the beatdowns last year (not to mention whatever happens on Saturday in the other Sport).

Alright — before I start thinking about Football — here are 80 more UCLA Spirit Squad photos from last Saturday.


"JUMPING TO HOOPS" was published on November 15th, 2016 and is listed in Blue & Gold News, UCLA/usc/Cheerleader Photos.

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