The 2013-14 UCLA Basketball schedule came out today.
Home games are in bold
Fri Nov 8 Drexel
Tue Nov 12 Oakland
Mon Nov 18 Sacramento State
Nov 22-24 Las Vegas Invitational Regional
Nov 28, 29 Las Vegas Invitational vs Northwestern and Nevada @Orleans Arena, Las Vegas
Tue Dec 3 UC Santa Barbara
Sat Dec 7 @ Missouri
Sat Dec 14 Prairie View A&M
Thu Dec 10 Duke @ Madison Square Garden
Sun Dec 22 Weber State
Sat Dec 28 Alabama
Sat Jan 4 *$c
Thu Jan 9 Arizona
Sat Jan 11 Arizona State
Thu Jan 16 @ Colorado
Sat Jan 18 @ Utah
Thu Jan 23 Stanford
Sat Jan 25 Cal
Thu Jan 30 @ Oregon State
Sat Feb 1 @ Oregon
Sat Feb 8 @ *$c
Thu Feb 13 Utah
Sat Feb 15 Colorado
Thu Feb 20 @ Cal
Sat Feb 22 @ Stanford
Wed Feb 26 Oregon
Sat Mar 1 Oregon State
Thu Mar 6 @ Washington State
Sat Mar 8 @ Washington
Mar 12-15 Pac-12 Tournament @ MGM Grand Las Vegas
Mar 18-23 NCAA First, second, third rounds
Mar 27-30 NCAA Sweet Sixteen, Elite 8
Apr 5-7 NCAA Final Four, Championship @ Cowboys Stadium, Dallas Texas
It is possible some of the Saturday games could be moved to Sunday to accommodate television, but the order of opponents and the relative dates should be pretty firm.
We'll obviously get into more details with the schedule later on, since right now we are a baseball school (Go Bruins!), but here is a brief overview of the season and some interesting stories that will play out.
One of the many failures of Ben Howland was his inability to have the Bruins playing well at the start of a season, which of course resulted in several (too many) embarrassing losses. I never understood why it was possible for the Irvines and San Luis Obispos and Montana States of the world to be ready to go in November while many excused Howland by saying these were "early" games. Early or not, I expect Alford to have U.C.L.A. ready to handle Drexel, Oakland, and Sac State right off the bat in 2013.
After those first three home games, the Las Vegas Invitational should be the Bruins' first big test of the season. U.C.L.A. and Missouri will each host a 4 team field. Complete matchups have not been set yet, but the Bruins will play two games at Pauley the weekend before Thanksgiving, then two games in Las Vegas against Northwestern and Nevada over Thanksgiving weekend. The others receiving invitations are IUPUI, Tenn-Chattanooga, Morehead State, and Gardner-Webb.
Following that, the Bruins will return home to face Ben Howland's first coaching job, the UCSB Gauchos. I wonder who Ben will be pulling for in that one?
The Bruins then travel to Columbia to face Missouri. While the Tigers are also appearing in the LV Invitational, U.C.L.A. and Missouri are not scheduled to meet. Oh my. Missouri would probably love a couple of shots at the Bruins after letting a late lead slip away in 2012 at Pauley, but this game in MO will be their one opportunity.
ESPN will not be able to contain their giddiness at the December matchup of Duke and U.C.L.A. in storied Madison Square Garden in mid December. I'm not sure how our school finals schedule will look, but this isn't the ideal time or place for the Bruins to meet Coach K's perennially excellent team. Look for tWWL to soil itself making ridiculous comparisons between Duke's basketball legacy and U.C.L.A.'s (there is no comparison) and between Coach K and Coach Alford (there is no comparison there either).
Following that, the Bruins will return home to face Ben Howland's alma mater and second coaching job, Weber State. I wonder who Ben will be pulling for in that one?
The Bruins begin Pac-12 play with a freebie against Southern Cal and then will stay at home for their only meeting with the Arizona schools. As much of a joke as the concept of "The Standard" is, it is a bigger joke that conference powers U.C.L.A. and Arizona aren't meeting twice every season. But the conference is richer, so, priorities, right? Washington and WSU are the two conference schools that will not travel to Los Angeles this year. The Bruins will travel to Boulder on Jan 16 so anyone who wants to come to CO for that can bring their skis and we'll make some runs the day after the game. U.C.L.A. will have one Wednesday game, at Oregon, with the rest of the conference schedule maintaining the usual Thursday - Saturday format for the time being.
U.C.L.A. Basketball has hit some all time lows in the last few years, and the recent off season only has made things worse, so personally, I'm pretty meh about the schedule being announced. That stands in stark contrast that to the excitement and anticipation I felt when the 2013 football schedule was announced. These are strange times in Westwood. I'm hope that I'll be more interested as the season draws nearer, but there has been such chaos and embarrassment around our most heralded sport that it's hard to get excited, which tells you all you need to know about the people running our baketball program. I hope there are brighter days ahead for Coach's program.
Hit us up with your thoughts.