In light of the recent Bruin Football Power poll, I have been reading every preseason prediction on UCLA basketball that I can find. They are mostly hilarious and full of clueless comments based on last year's season from people who do not understand the team .
"Prediction UCLA 5[the place]. . . . Jerime Anderson or Malcolm Lee has to emerge as the main point guard for the Bruins."
Yes PG is a concern but Malcolm Lee is never playing point again for UCLA.
In many ways, this is the same UCLA team that failed to reach .500 last year, only without leading scorer Michael Roll. There's a chance the Bruins could improve without adding a superior recruiting class, but it's just as easy to see Howland's team struggling through another ugly campaign before turning it around in 2011-12.
Uhm, let's see yes we lose Michael Roll and that hurts. We also lose Drago and that . . . helps. But the players coming back will not be the same in 2010. A few quick reasons:
1. ML, Tyler Honeycutt and Reeves Nelson all get to play their natural positions this season. While it will help ML the most, all three will be better players playing where they were recruited to play and should play.
2. Injuries. We would not have had a losing record if the above three had not been hurt and were hurting at key times. Remember that TH not only missed games but was barred from the weight room and limited when he did come back. Even Malcolm Lee who did not miss any games did miss key minutes from cramps that cost us the CSUF and the AZ road game. If we can stay away from the injury bug or even limit its effect, we will be a better team.
More predictions after the jump.
Okay, I will admit the pre-season NIT is a bit rigged to favor certain teams including UCLA. That is a fair dig to make. However, some of these other predictions regarding the UCLA-Pepperdine and Nevada-Pacific bracket of the preseason NIT are just ridiculous from the guys at Rivals.
[1.] NIT officials want UCLA and Wake Forest to get to New York, but I don't think either of those teams is going to be that good. . . .In the West, I think Pacific could pull a surprise.
 UCLA struggled last season and there isn't much reason to think Ben Howland's squad will be very good this season, either. It wouldn't surprise me if Nevada pulls a mild upset of the Bruins.
 The four glamour teams are Villanova, Tennessee, Wake Forest and UCLA, but the latter two teams in that group probably won't be picked to reach the NCAA tournament by most preseason prognosticators. I'll still pick those four teams to win their respective regions, though it wouldn't surprise me if . . .Nevada advanced from the West.
The funny thing is these guys are still talking and thinking about last year. This year's team should be completely different starting from the attitudes coming out of the gate (Compare Smith's work ethic to Bobo's) and to defense (Jones talks about "off ball" defense and Smith is a real center to shore up the defense compared to Drago's lack of effort and Roll's lack of ability). There is reason to think UCLA will be better this year.
Likewise the Nevada upset pick seems based on last year. Nevada lost its best player to the pros, Luke Babbitt who was 28% of his teams scoring and an NBA 1st Round Draft pick. Further of the six players who averaged double digit in minutes last year, four are gone. I will admit Nevada COULD be very deep but I have my doubts for a number of reason including that they really only played six guys last year. Nevada 2009 would be a tough team, 2010, the Bruins at home should win and these morons should know that.
In 2009 we were overrated based on past successes. In 2010 we are being underrated based on one bad year. I am looking forward to CBH and the guys returning to being Ben Ball Warriors and "over achieving." Which was more the fluke 2009-10 or 2005-2008? CBH will have us back, the question is how far.