DC Bruins has been amazing all season guiding us through this basketball season. I do not want to make any conclusions on the current season yet. Like all the frontpagers I also expect Ben Howland to get us into the tournament this season. Missing the tourney for two consecutive seasons will not be acceptable at UCLA.
With that benchmark in mind folks should take note how pivotal next 3 games are for our Bruins which includes this afternoon's game at Oregon's new arena. Bruins current record is 10-6. We are 2-2 in the Pac-10 with a less than mediocre RPI of 78. Oregon's RPI is now at 188. Stanford's RPI is at 102 and California is at 49 (RPIRatings.com). If we lose to the Ducks today it is going to be a devastating loss. If we lose any of our next 3 games it could potentially be a death blow for our NCAA hopes.
Today's game against a fired up Ducks team is not going to be easy. The games against the Bay Area schools at Pauley are not going to be walk in the park either. Stanford has been playing well of late and California even without lot of experience will be a well prepared team under Monty. We wish our team was not in this situation but they have no one else but themselves to blame for uninspired performances against VCU and Montana
For us to have a shot at the tournament we need to win next 3, get to 13-6, and keep ourselves relevant for at large discussions for the tournament. If we can win today, and hold serve against Bay Area schools at Pauley we will be a relatively respectable 5-2 in Pac-10. We will then have to win at least one during the Arizona trip (cannot afford to get swept in the desert) and then beat Trojans at home to get us to 7-3 with a date against St. Johns with an RPI of number 11.
What I am trying to say is that our program is at cross-roads now. Watching our games are not a lot of fun these days. Yet the short term drama in next 3 games could potentially have larger impact on Ben Howland era at UCLA for this season and beyond. Lot of reasons to tune in to watch how Howland and his team will respond to the challenge.