6-3 and tied for second place in the Pac-12 Conference
I want to get one thing straight:
I am NOT a fan of the Britney Spears song “Oops, I Did It Again” as while it may have been a huge hit back in the day, it is also one of the least appealing pop tunes ever in my book.
But how else can you describe UCLA’s basketball team this past weekend in the state of Oregon, as they had a chance to not only assert themselves as a truly strong contender in the Pac-12, but also come to within a game of Arizona, who had their #1 ranking and undefeated season smashed by California on Saturday.
How else can you describe Steve Alford’s squad when they blew leads against both Oregon and Oregon State, Travis Wear bailing the Bruins out with his jump shot with 5.3 seconds left to play in Eugene to beat the Ducks 70-68.
Then acting like they were more interested in watching the Super Bowl on TV than beating the Beavers in Corvallis on Sunday as they played like a basketball version of the Bad News Bears, committing 13 turnovers and shooting just 38% in their 71-67 loss to an OSU team that – let’s be honest, folks – UCLA had no business losing to.
Coach Alford was rightfully outraged after the game as according to the Los Angeles Times, he lit into his team in the locker room, using words like “Immature”, “Didn’t deserve to win”, and “Didn’t care one iota”.
“We had a vast majority of guys not play with the energy and enthusiasm and passion that we’ve got to have,” he told the press.
By the time the Bruins realized that they were about to give Beavers, coached by First Brother-In-Law Craig Robinson, their big highlight of the season as they managed to get to within one at 67-66, it was too late as Jordan Adams was called for a charge with 14 seconds left on the clock, sealing UCLA’s fate.
In fact, I’m surprised that the Oregon State students and fans didn’t rush the court after the buzzer, which they had every right to do.
Kyle Anderson was evidently the only Bruin who showed up at Gill Coliseum, being the only player in a blue and gold jersey who scored in double digits as he got 18 points and nine rebounds.
I’m tired of talking about this semi-lost weekend of UCLA’s, so I’ll discuss the situation that this team is in, which could be a heck of a lot better than it is.
These Bruins are about to go into the back stretch of the Pac-12 schedule as they have nine regular season games left, five of those games being away from Pauley Pavilion.
Roughly two and a half months after I wrote their official preview on this site, I still haven’t figured out this team.
Nor have I been convinced that they have the will or execution ability necessary to go deep into the post-season as this loss to OSU is the second time that UCLA has lost to an opponent that they should have handled easily.
Even on the road.
Their second half of the conference schedule – in which they could go anywhere from 8-1 to 3-6 – begins in enemy territory as they will travel about 11 miles east this coming Saturday to face a USC team that, because of the 107-73 slaughter that the Bruins put on them, will be looking for revenge and the ultimate highlight to a season that’s going nowhere.
And have been playing better despite being in the Pac-12 cellar, with two of the Trojans’ last three games going into overtime.
The way the Bruins have been performing of late, this showdown at Galen Center, in front of what promises to be a most hostile crowd, can well feature a storming of the court and endless playings of “Conquest” if they don’t straighten up.
A complete preview of Part Two of the basketball edition of the Crosstown Rivalry will appear on this site later this week.