10-4 and in second place in the Pac-12 Conference, two games behind Arizona
Just when I thought it was safe to get excited about this team…
They finally put together two good halves in their 20-point win over a tough California team in Berkeley on Saturday during their latest road trip,
Then they proceeded to completely lay an egg – again – and a rotten egg at that as they traveled to the Farm in Palo Alto and made Stanford look like Duke or Kansas, losing 83-74 in Maples Pavilion.
This is the third time that these Bruins have dropped a second weekend away game to a team that, to be brutally honest, they should have handled fairly easily as they lost to Utah and Oregon State on the road earlier this season in a similar fashion.
It reminds me of my days in my high school’s marching band, when my band director, who though he was very knowledgable and successful was a Bob Knight-like tyrant, would scream when he wasn’t happy with us…
“You stink! You can’t march! You can’t play! You stink!! I hate you!!”
Though I wouldn’t have treated this UCLA team exactly like that, and I’m sure that coach Steve Alford didn’t express himself to the team in so many words, it wouldn’t have been in the least surprised if that’s how he felt as the Stanford band triumphantly played their fight song, “All Right Now”, after their big win with their tree mascot dancing around.
Not to place the blame solely on them as it’s always a team loss, Kyle Anderson (six) and Jordan Adams (eight) scored less than ten points for the first time this season, while Josh Huestis made like Shaquille O’Neal in scoring 22 points and blocking five shots.
Plus to add to the pain, Chasson Randle made like NBA all-star sharpshooter and former Bruin standout Reggie Miller in hitting 7-of-10 three-pointers for the Cardinal for a game-high 26 points.
I have no desire whatsoever to discuss this latest failure of UCLA’s, so let’s talk about the team’s situation…
There are two weeks left in the Pac-12’s regular season.
The Bruins have four games remaining: two games at home in Pauley Pavilion against the Oregon schools, and two games in the Pacific Northwest against the Washington schools.
Those four teams occupy four of the bottom five spots in the Pac-12 standings at this moment, Oregon and Oregon State sporting 6-8 records while Washington stands at 7-8 and Washington State, who UCLA concludes their conference schedule with, is fighting with USC to stay out of last place with their 2-13 mark (and a Pac-12 worst 9-18 overall).
In short, these are four very winnable contests, contests which the Bruins need to sweep in order for me to be convinced that they can do great things in the postseason, because after seven weeks and 14 Pac-12 games I am still not at that point.
I don’t know about anyone else in Bruin Nation, but my personal message to this UCLA squad is quite the simple one as they are now into the home stretch with March Madness fast arriving…
Thursday, February 27 vs. Oregon Ducks
Pauley Pavilion, 8:00 p.m. PT