The Bruins recently have announced that they will play a home and home series versus the Gonzaga Bulldogs the next two seasons upon mutual agreement. The first game will take place in Pauley Pavilion December 13th, 2014, with the following game in the series hosted by the Bulldogs in Spokane, Washington, December 12th, 2015.
Gonzaga’s trip to Pauley will be their first meeting with UCLA in 15 years. UCLA clearly was not done improving their strength of schedule as they added a neutral site game in Chicago’s United Center vs. the Kentucky Wildcats December 20th, 2014. This game definitely will be considered as a measuring stick for the Bruins due to the likelihood that the ‘Cats will be potentially number one, or a top 3 team in the top 25. Additionally the Bruins will be part of a Thanksgiving tournament that includes, Butler, Florida, North Carolina, and Wisconsin. This is all BEFORE UCLA enters Pac 12 play.
If all goes according to plan for Alford, UCLA basketball could certainly go into the new year as a top 10 or top 5 ranked team in the country. A schedule so top-heavy with fierce non-conference competition can go really good…or really bad. With schools like Arizona, Oregon, Washington, and Stanford all quality competition, the Bruins must either feel REALLY confident about their 2014-2015 chase to the NCAA Tourney…..or are absolutely bonkers. You have to admit that they have guts with a schedule like this, however.
The Bruins must rebound from losing four starters as well as freshman standout Zach LaVine. Despite the fact that UCLA has a polarizing reputation in college hoops, and thus, no problem at all of landing top of the line, NBA-caliber talent, the Bruins will call on Norman Powell and Tony Parker to lead aspiring studs like Kevon Looney and Jonah Bolden through a hellacious schedule. UCLA’s scheduling appears as one to prove battle tested and March Madness Final Four ready. But, no pressure.