Let's start this out with some news that will make everyone smile, Tyus Edney has been selected to the PAC 12 Hall of Fame. I did not even know it existed but I support any chance to honor Tyus. If nothing else it is a good reason to show this again:
On to this year's team, while everyone has focused on Kyle Anderson's Player of the Year season or Jordan Adams very good last two games, another reason why UCLA is "hot" right now is Travis Wear is back. After starting this season hurt and out of sync, Chris Foster of the LA Times points out:
Heading into Saturday's game at Stanford, he has made 26 of 40 shots in UCLA's last six games.
"The beginning of the season was a little tough, coming off the surgery," Wear said. "I'm getting into a groove. It took a little while. I think I'm there now."
ESPN in their official preview details the Bruins hot streak, which is a scary comment on the PAC 12, because really UCLA only played one complete game (fortunately last time against UC Berkeley) in the streak:
The Bruins have won seven of eight, beginning with a 91-74 victory over Stanford on Jan. 23. Jordan Adams scored a game-high 28 points as they kept rolling with Wednesday's 86-66 win over California.
"That's where our eyes are and that's where our goal is -- to get this league championship," said forward Travis Wear, who added 13 points. "We're going to try to win every game from here on out and see what happens in the end."
The streak has led to some gaudy and nice numbers:
UCLA ranked 10th in the nation in scoring, second among Pac-12 teams (83.1 ppg), through Feb. 16.
The Bruins lead the Pac-12 in assists (17.6), steals (10.0), turnover margin (+4.34) and assist turnover ratio (1.7).
Kyle Anderson has become the first NCAA Division I player to average at least 14.0 ppg, 8.0 rpg and 6.0 apg in one season since Ohio State's Evan Turner finished the 2009-10 campaign with 20.4 ppg, 9.2 rpg and 6.0 apg.
UCLA's roster features seven players who have scored at least 20 points in one career game, with six of those seven players having registered at least 20 points in one game this season.
The talent has always been there. Before the year Bruins Nation said based on talent we expect the team to finish second in the PAC 12 to Arizona and to win it all if Arizona falters. We are seeing that talent now. Also since the Brandon Ashley injury and consistent with recent years, Arizona is losing a number of games at the end of the season. However, if you think Bruins Nation expectations are in anyway unreasonable, compare it to the sporting news who says UCLA can compete for the National Championship:
Yeah, how about this: It might be possible for UCLA to win the national championship.
Remember the "minimum requirements" for a national champ: Top 20 offensive efficiency, top 20 defense, at least one first-round draft choice. Every team that's won since 2003 met the efficiency standards; every team that's won since 1988 had the first-round pick.
UCLA's a couple of stifling defensive efforts from cracking KenPom.com's top 20 defenses. And, honestly, if you're that close to the neighborhood you're probably defending well enough to win it.
The first-round choice? Well, point guard Kyle Anderson is a lock to be that, as well as reserve guard Zach LaVine in whatever year he decides to leave the Bruins. Shooter Jordan Adams has a shot. So the talent is there.
Just curious and don't have time to look it up but has there been a Bruin to win a championship at UCLA as a coach and player? That would be a cool thing for Tyus' PAC 12 Hall of Fame resume.
However, let's not get ahead of ourselves. Since UCLA has not won both games on a PAC 12 road trip this year, let's get that done today at 3 pm on ESPN.
Beat Stanford and Go Bruins!