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What’s Bruin, 11/23: Basketball on the horizon

The Bruins are taking to the hard court this week

NCAA Basketball: UCLA at Washington Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The UCLA Bruins are just a few days removed from a hard-fought loss to the Oregon Ducks on the gridiron, and just a couple days away from their return to the hard court in both men’s and women’s basketball.

With so much happening in what has amounted to a virtual world for us all of late, we take a look at the happenings from some of those who are so fortunate enough to have boots on the ground, so to speak.

First, we start with the ‘moral victories’ over the past weekend from the Bruins dropping their game in Eugene. Sure, moral victories are absolutely not even skin deep, and this team is in desperate need of some radical changes, but we may have seen one of those radical changes take place on Saturday.

Chase Griffin entered the game as the starting quarterback, and despite a couple of mistakes, he held command of the offense seemingly much better than his predecessor, and his level of play against a Ducks defense may warrant much more playing time moving forward.

We can take a look at a bunch of items following the loss to Oregon:

What Chip Kelly said after UCLA lost at Oregon

UCLA’s defense at its best under Chip

Chase Griffin stepped up and almost delivered an upset

And then aside from the ‘moral victories’ for the football program, the basketball teams are back in action, and that leads to excitement as both men’s and women’s programs find themselves well within the top 25 as the season draws near.

The men’s team was selected to win the Pac-12 in the media poll

UCLA’s basketball may get the blur from Mick Cronin

UCLA claimed the top spot in the conference, looking for resurgence

As far as the women’s team, they’re currently ranked No. 9 in the country, star Michaela Onyenwere was named a first-team All-American and UCLA is being thrown into potential National Championship conversations as well.

When asked among the ESPN report on the Pac-12, UCLA and Arizona were each given a chance to represent the conference on the grandest of stages:

Are either/both/neither Arizona and UCLA capable of winning the national championship?

Creme: Having a star or at least confident go-to player is essential to winning a national title and both the Wildcats and Bruins have one in Aari McDonald and Michaela Onyenwere, respectively. So check that box. Both teams also have plenty of veteran leadership, a key characteristic for every national champion since a pair of freshmen and sophomores led Maryland to the 2006 title. Those elements should keep Arizona and UCLA in the conversation, especially in a season that could end up being as wide open as ever.

The Bruins are a consensus top-four team in the conference, in what has been dubbed a super-conference at this point of the preseason.

NCAAW 2020-21 Preview

Pac-12 a ‘superpower’ league

Pac-12 announces 22-game women’s basketball league schedule for 2020-21

All in all — there are some exciting things happening in Westwood.

What are you most looking forward to in the rest of the this calendar year?