No Mirage — UCLA’s Aria is Royal Flushes of Nevada and Northwestern in the Vegas Invitational, cashing out at 7-and-0 on the season, a deal that makes Steve Alford the first Bruin Coach in history to win his first 7 games (Wooden was 6-1); Kyle Anderson is the Tourney MVP, Jordan Adams the leading scorer, Zach LaVine and Norman Powell the leading ahh-makers, and Bryce Alford the new shooter coming out
I went to Las Vegas for Thanksgiving, and a Basketball game broke out. In a sheer coincidence, UCLA had two Basketball games scheduled for Vegas during Thanksgiving weekend, and the first one wasn’t on TV in the Sportsbooks, so we hopped in a cab, and headed to the Orleans Arena and observed the Bruins in person. UCLA blew out their competition on Thursday, and turned around and did it again on Friday, never being seriously challenged.
UCLA was explosive on Offense, running, dunking, and shooting the lights out. It didn’t matter this weekend, but their Defense and Rebounding left plenty to be desired, and could be exploited by stiffer competition. These are concerns held not just by me, as Steve Alford has recognized these early season deficiencies as well. Whether playing Man-to-Man or Zone, the opposition is finding some easy hoops and lots of open Three’s.
But right now, the Bruin Offense is so prolific, they can get away with it. The Bruins were so hot on Friday, they came close to setting records for shooting percentage. Northwestern never had a chance. Jordan Adams is leading the charge, with Kyle Anderson running the show, excitingly and efficiently. Anderson almost notched his second triple-double of the year on Friday. Adding to Adams’ scoring have been super-Freshman Zach LaVine, and Norman Powell, who both attack the rim like a moist Thanksgiving Turkey. They both had Play of the Week-type dunks again on Friday night. But Friday night’s biggest pleasant surprise was Bryce Alford, who equaled Adams and LaVine with a career-high 18 Points. He made his first four shots as UCLA pulled far away from the Wildcats early and never looked back.
UCLA is now 7-0 for the first time in recent memory, scoring an average of ninety-something per game. And if they keep shooting Three’s like they did on Friday, they can beat anyone. But that is too much to ask or expect. So until the Bruins face some tougher foes, confidence should be tempered. NW was missing their leading scorer, so there was no way they could keep up with the Bruins’ Offensive juggernaut. Lots more will be known after the Bruins face Missouri, in Missouri.
Below are 49 game and CHEER photos from the Nevada game. The small contingent from the Spirit Squad was awesome. I hope they had a great Thanksgiving — I’m not sure how many are over 21, or if they got free reign in the Casinos, but I’m sure they made the most of their trip. Click on the pics to zoom in, and be sure to check out the cool. special outfits the Dance Team donned for their Halftime performance.