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Poll Watch: UCLA Men's Basketball Stuck on Zero

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UCLA Men's Basketball continues to draw a blank in the national polls. UCLA Men's Volleyball is the nation's top-ranked team in the nation for a second straight week, and UCLA Women's Water Polo remains at #2 after a perfect 4-0 start to the season.

Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

It was a busy and generally successful week in the polls for UCLA Athletics. Except for UCLA Men's Basketball, unfortunately. For the second straight week, UCLA didn't garner a single vote in either the AP Poll or the USA Today Coaches Poll.

I've seen plenty of excuses for Steve Alford's failure to field a basketball team that is regarded as a top-25 team. In year 1, the primary excuse was that he was saddled with Howland's players, and that those players just weren't good enough. In year 2, the primary excuse was that the Bruins were "young and inexperienced."  In year 3, the favorite excuses are that the polls are biased and that the Pac-12 conference is just so good that it's unreasonable to expect the Bruins to win more than a few conference road games.

Let's check the facts. In Ben Howland's final season, UCLA appeared in the AP top-25 six times in 19 weeks, or 31.6% of the time. Coach Howland was fired after that season. Since then, Steve Alford's Bruins have appeared in the AP top-25 ten times in 51 weeks, or 19.6% of the time. It's been even worse since the majority of Howland's players departed at the end of the 2013-14 season. From 2014-15 onward, the Bruins have appeared in the top-25 just three times in 31 weeks, or 9.7% of the time.

That dismal record isn't about to improve any time soon. A loss at home to Washington on Thursday moves Steve Alford's Bruins even further away from consideration for a top-25 spot, and a win today against the cellar-dwelling Washington State Cougars won't do much to improve UCLA's standing in the eyes of the voters. Undoubtedly some will argue that the Huskies are a good team so this week's loss isn't a big deal. Ironically, those are likely to be the same people who talk about how difficult it is to win on the road in the Pac-12.

Sadly, expectations for our men's basketball program continue to decline. We once aspired to conference championships and recognition as an elite basketball program. Judging by the comments of Steve Alford's defenders, the new definition of a successful season seems to be qualification for the NCAA Tournament. And, of course, there's always next year--in the minds of Alford defenders, failures this season are more than offset by the possibility of future success. Clearly, expectations have been managed.

Thankfully, for those with interests that extend beyond UCLA Football and Men's Basketball, the polls provide much better news. UCLA Women's Basketball jumped five spots to #15 in the AP Poll after a 20-point victory over Stanford. UCLA Men's Volleyball remains the top-ranked team in the nation after picking up a pair of wins last week, and UCLA Women's Water Polo is ranked #2 nationally after four good wins against ranked opponents to open the season.

The news was mixed for UCLA's tennis programs. UCLA Men's Tennis held steady at #12 after picking up three sweeps last week, while UCLA Women's Tennis tumbled 12 places in the ITA rankings after splitting a pair of matches. Considering how much talent our women's tennis team lost at the end of last season, it shouldn't be completely surprising if the Bruins struggle a bit in the early going in 2016.

UCLA Women's Gymnastics is fourth after last week's win against Arizona.

Preseason polls for baseball and softball are starting to appear now, and the Bruins are once again in or near the top-10. UCLA Softball is ranked seventh in both the ESPN/USA Softball Preseason Poll and the USA Today/NFCA Coaches Preseason Poll. Meanwhile UCLA Baseball debuts at #10 in the Baseball America Preseason Poll and at #11 in the D1 Baseball Preseason Poll.

Most of our Olympic sports programs are on course to receive national recognition throughout the spring. Except for Steve Alford's basketball program, unfortunately.

Men's Basketball

Last Week: UCLA defeated Oregon State 82-73, and lost to Oregon 86-72.

Associated Press Poll (January 25, 2016)
RANK TEAM RECORD POINTS PREVIOUS
1 Oklahoma (36) 16-2 1,592 1
2 North Carolina (29) 18-2 1,586 2
3 Iowa 16-3 1,473 9
4 Kansas 16-3 1,369 3
5 Texas A&M 17-2 1,332 10
6 Villanova 17-3 1,261 4
7 Xavier 17-2 1,186 5
8 Maryland 17-3 1,111 7
9 West Virginia 16-3 1,105 6
10 Providence 17-3 1,005 16
11 Virginia 15-4 903 13
12 Michigan State 17-4 869 11
13 SMU 18-1 838 8
14 Iowa State 15-4 792 19
15 Miami (FL) 15-3 753 15
16 Louisville 16-3 719 17
17 Baylor 15-4 594 13
18 Arizona 16-4 502 12
19 Indiana 17-3 466 25
20 Kentucky 15-4 403 23
21 Purdue 17-4 328 22
22 Wichita St 14-5 151 NR
23 Oregon 16-4 149 NR
24 Duke 15-5 145 20
25 Notre Dame 14-5 136 NR


UCLA (12-8, 3-4) received 0 points.

USA Today Coaches Poll (January 25, 2016)
RANK TEAM RECORD POINTS PREVIOUS
1 North Carolina (23) 18-2 791 2
2 Oklahoma (9) 16-2 766 1
3 Kansas 16-3 680 3
4 Iowa 16-3 677 9
5 Texas A&M 17-2 650 8
6 Villanova 17-3 591 4
7 Maryland 17-3 581 5
8 Xavier 17-2 580 6
9 West Virginia 16-3 503 7
10 Providence 17-3 452 17
11 Michigan State 17-4 445 10
12 Virginia 15-4 430 13
13 Miami (FL) 15-3 412 14
14 Louisville 16-3 384 16
15 Arizona 16-4 341 11
16 Iowa State 15-4 312 21
17 Indiana 17-3 290 23
18 Baylor 15-4 281 15
19 Kentucky 15-4 242 19
20 Duke 15-5 183 12
21 Purdue 17-4 150 22
22 South Carolina 17-2 137 18
23 Pittsburgh 16-3 118 20
24 Oregon 16-4 90 NR
25 Wichita St 14-5 60 NR


UCLA (12-8, 3-4) received 0 points.

Women's Basketball

Last Week: UCLA defeated California 75-56, and defeated #12 Stanford 56-36.

Associated Press Poll (January 25, 2016)
RANK TEAM RECORD POINTS PREVIOUS
1 Connecticut (32) 18-0 800 1
2 South Carolina 19-0 765 2
3 Notre Dame 19-1 739 3
4 Baylor 19-1 700 4
5 Maryland 17-2 659 5
6 Texas 18-1 651 6
7 Ohio State 15-4 592 7
8 Arizona State 17-3 582 8
9 Oregon State 16-3 539 11
10 Texas A&M 14-5 473 13
11 Florida State 16-4 467 14
12 Kentucky 14-3 434 9
13 Mississippi State 17-4 408 10
14 Louisville 14-5 352 17
15 UCLA 14-5 317 20
16 Stanford 15-5 290 12
17 Miami (FL) 17-3 240 16
18 Michigan State 14-4 219 21
19 Tennessee 12-6 209 18
20 South Florida 13-5 193 15
21 Oklahoma 13-5 143 19
22 Missouri 16-4 140 23
23 DePaul 16-6 123 24
24 West Virginia 16-4 108 25
25 Washington 15-4 80 NR

USA Today Coaches Poll (January 25, 2016)
RANK TEAM RECORD POINTS PREVIOUS
1 Connecticut (31) 18-0 799 1
2 South Carolina (1) 19-0 769 2
3 Notre Dame 19-1 735 3
4 Baylor 19-1 702 4
5 Maryland 17-2 664 5
6 Texas 18-1 649 6
7 Ohio State 15-4 597 7
8 Oregon State 16-3 577 8
9 Arizona State 17-3 537 11
10 Texas A&M 14-5 475 12
11 Florida State 16-4 471 13
12 Kentucky 15-3 450 9
13 Mississippi State 17-4 374 10
14 Louisville 15-5 358 17
15 Michigan State 14-4 319 18
16 Stanford 15-5 284 14
17 Miami (FL) 17-3 255 16
18 South Florida 13-5 226 15
19 UCLA 14-5 213 25
20 Oklahoma 13-5 185 19
21 DePaul 16-6 182 21
22 Green Bay 17-2 71 NR
23 Tennessee 12-7 69 22
24 Missouri 16-4 62 NR
25 Seton Hall 16-4 39 NR

Men's Volleyball

Last Week: UCLA defeated Cal Baptist 3-0, and defeated #15 Southern Cal 3-1.

AVCA Coaches Poll (January 25, 2016)
RANK TEAM POINTS RECORD PREVIOUS
1 UCLA (20) 300 7-0 1
2 Long Beach State 279 6-1 2
3 BYU 254 4-2 3
4 Loyola-Chicago 224 5-1 5
5 Hawai'i 205 6-1 6
6 Stanford 202 5-1 8
7 Ohio State 175 5-2 7
8 Pepperdine 169 4-1 11
9 Penn State 131 4-2 10
9 UC Irvine 131 2-4 4
11 UC Santa Barbara 119 7-2 9
12 CSUN 83 8-0 12
13 Lewis 62 6-3 13
14 Saint Francis 21 3-3 NR
15 Ball State 15 3-3 14

Women's Water Polo

Last Week: UCLA defeated #7 Hawai'i 13-8, defeated #13 UCSB 8-5, defeated #17 Long Beach State 11-4, and defeated #12 Michigan 11-7.

CWPA Poll (January 27, 2016)
RANK TEAM POINTS PREVIOUS
1 Stanford 97 1
2 UCLA 96 2
3 Southern Cal 94 3
4 Hawai'i 86 7
5 Arizona State 84 6
6 California 81 4
7 Michigan 74 12
8 San Jose State 67 8
9 UC Davis 66 9
10 UC Irvine 63 5
11 UC Santa Barbara 60 13
12 Pacific 57 10
T13 Indiana 46 14
T13 Princeton 46 11
15 San Diego State 43 16
16 Loyola Marymount 41 15
17 Hartwick 35 18
T18 Wagner 34 20
T18 UC San Diego 34 21
20 Long Beach State 22 17


Baseball

Last Week: UCLA was not in action.

Baseball America Preseason Poll (January 25, 2016)
RANK TEAM 2015 RECORD FINAL 2015 RANK
1 Florida 52-18 3
2 Louisville 47-18 10
3 Texas A&M 50-14 13
4 Virginia 44-24 1
5 Oregon State 39-19 NR
6 Miami 50-17 6
7 Vanderbilt 51-21 2
8 California 36-21 22
9 Oklahoma State 38-20 19
10 UCLA 45-16 7
11 Louisiana State 54-12 5
12 Houston 43-20 18
13 Louisiana-Lafayette 42-23 16
14 Oregon 38-25 NR
15 Michigan 39-25 NR
16 Southern California 39-21 20
17 Florida State 44-21 15
18 Texas Christian 51-15 4
19 North Carolina State 36-23 NR
20 Mississippi State 24-30 NR
21 Oklahoma 34-27 NR
22 Cal State Fullerton 39-25 9
23 Coastal Carolina 39-21 NR
24 Mississippi 30-28 NR
25 Kentucky 30-25 NR

D1 Baseball Preseason Poll (January 12, 2016)
RANK TEAM 2015 RECORD FINAL 2015 RANK
1 Florida 52-18 3
2 Louisville 47-18 8
3 Vanderbilt 51-21 2
4 Texas A&M 50-14 10
5 Oregon State 39-18 23
6 Miami 50-17 6
7 LSU 54-12 5
8 Oklahoma State 38-20 17
9 California 36-21 NR
10 N.C. State 36-23 24
11 UCLA 45-16 12
12 Southern California 39-21 21
13 Virginia 44-24 1
14 Oregon 38-25 NR
15 Mississippi State 24-30 NR
16 North Carolina 34-24 NR
17 South Carolina 32-25 NR
18 Louisiana-Lafayette 42-23 16
19 TCU 51-15 4
20 Florida State 44-21 14
21 Cal State Fullerton 39-25 7
22 Houston 43-20 22
23 Texas 30-27 NR
24 Coastal Carolina 39-21 NR
25 Arkansas 40-25 9


Softball

Last Week: UCLA was not in action.

USA Today/NFCA Coaches Preseason Poll (January 26, 2016)

RANK TEAM POINTS 2015 RECORD FINAL 2015 RANK
1 Florida (26) 782 60-7 1
2 Michigan (2) 755 60-8 2
3 LSU (2) 711 52-14 4
4 Auburn (1) 698 56-11 3
5 Alabama (1) 672 48-15 6
6 Oregon 666 51-8 7
7 UCLA 625 51-12 5
8 Tennessee 548 47-17 8
9 Oklahoma 514 49-9 9
10 Florida State 493 49-14 10
11 Louisiana Lafayette 449 42-12 11
12 Georgia 416 44-17 12
13 Arizona 385 41-20 13
14 Minnesota 376 49-11 15
15 Missouri 369 42-16 14
16 Baylor 290 41-17 18
17 UCF 270 50-9 16
18 Kentucky 260 32-26 17
19 James Madison 198 48-10 22
20 Washington 197 42-17 21
21 California 142 39-18 23
22 Arizona State 136 36-22 20
23 North Carolina State 114 38-22 19
24 Notre Dame 77 42-15 T25
25 South Alabama 73 40-13 23

ESPN/USA Softball Preseason Poll (January 26, 2016)

RANK TEAM 2015 RECORD POINTS FINAL 2015 RANK
1 Florida (17) 60-7 495 1
2 Michigan (1) 60-8 473 2
3 LSU (2) 52-14 446 4
4 Oregon 51-8 428 7
5 Alabama 48-15 412 6
6 Auburn 56-11 409 3
7 UCLA 51-12 368 5
8 Oklahoma 49-9 352 9
9 Tennessee 47-17 341 8
10 Florida State 49-14 311 10
11 Louisiana-Lafayette 42-12 285 11
12 Missouri 42-16 258 12
13 Minnesota 49-11 257 15
14 Georgia 44-17 223 13
15 Arizona 41-20 217 14
16 Baylor 41-17 183 18
17 UCF 50-9 159 16
18 Kentucky 32-26 148 17
19 Washington 42-7 144 21
20 Arizona State 36-22 106 20
21 James Madison 48-10 95 22
22 California 39-18 80 23
23 Utah 36-19 58 25
24 Texas A&M 40-20 53 RV
25 NC State 38-22 47 19

Men's Tennis

Last Week: UCLA defeated San Francisco 7-0, defeated SMU 4-0, and defeated Georgia Tech 4-0.

ITA Division I Men's Team Rankings (January 27, 2016)
RANK TEAM PREVIOUS
1 Virginia 1
2 Oklahoma 2
3 TCU 3
4 Texas A&M 5
5 Baylor 4
6 Georgia 6
7 Illinois 7
T8 USC 8
T8 Ohio State 9
10 North Carolina 10
11 Wake Forest 11
12 UCLA 12
13 South Florida 13
14 Texas Tech 15
15 Columbia 16
16 San Diego 19
17 Stanford 18
18 Virginia Tech 14
19 Mississippi 17
20 Florida 21
21 Northwestern 25
22 Minnesota 22
23 Tulsa 24
24 Duke 23
25 Oklahoma State 28


Women's Tennis

Last Week: UCLA defeated UC Irvine 4-0, and lost to Fresno State 4-3.

ITA Division I Women's Team Rankings (January 27, 2016)
RANK TEAM PREVIOUS
1 Vanderbilt 1
2 Georgia 4
3 Florida 3
4 USC 2
5 North Carolina 5
6 California 6
7 Virginia 8
8 Stanford 7
9 Texas A&M 10
10 Oklahoma State 11
11 Miami 12
12 Michigan 13
13 Alabama 15
14 Duke 16
15 Baylor 14
16 Ohio State 18
17 Texas Tech 17
T18 Pepperdine 19
T18 LSU 21
20 Clemson 20
21 UCLA 9
T22 TCU 22
T22 Kentucky 23
24 Georgia Tech 24
25 Mississippi 25


Women's Gymnastics

Last Week: UCLA defeated #20 Arizona 196.800-196.475.

GymInfo Team Rankings (January 26, 2016)

RANK TEAM AVERAGE HIGH
1 Florida 197.192 197.675
2 Oklahoma 197.094 197.475
3 Michigan 196.938 196.975
4 UCLA 196.758 196.925
5 Alabama 196.688 197.175
6 LSU 196.45 196.95
7 Utah 196.342 196.725
8 Arkansas 196.113 196.7
9 Auburn 196.106 196.275
10 Boise State 196.063 196.425
11 George Washington 195.8 196.175
12 Stanford 195.783 196.675
13 Georgia 195.769 196.775
14 Denver 195.642 195.9
15 Oregon State 195.633 196.35
16 Missouri 195.6 196.05
17 Nebraska 195.342 196.15
18 Minnesota 195.267 195.675
19 Illinois-Champaign 195.242 195.5
20 Arizona 195.217 196.475
21 California 195.15 195.65
22 West Virginia 195.083 195.8
23 Kentucky 195.033 195.175
24 Eastern Michigan 194.992 195.05
24 Southern Utah 194.992 195.6


This Week In UCLA Sports

Wednesday, January 27

  • #1 UCLA Men's Volleyball vs. #2 Long Beach State at Pauley Pavilion (7:00 PM PST)

Thursday, January 28

  • UCLA Men's Basketball vs. Washington at Pauley Pavilion (7:00 PM PST)
  • Friday, January 29

    • #18 UCLA Women's Swimming & Diving vs. #2 Stanford in Los Angeles, CA (2:00 PM PST)
    • #21 UCLA Women's Tennis vs. St. Mary's in Pacific Palisades, CA (2:00 PM PST)
    • UCLA Track & Field at the Razorback Invitational in Fayetteville, AR (3:00 PM)
    • #15 UCLA Women's Basketball vs. Colorado in Boulder, CO (6:00 PM PST)
    • #1 UCLA Men's Volleyball vs. #12 Cal State Northridge at Pauley Pavilion (7:00 PM PST)

    Saturday, January 30

    • UCLA Track & Field at the Razorback Invitational in Fayetteville, AR (10:00 AM)
    • #7 UCLA Baseball Alumni Game at Jackie Robinson Stadium (12:00 PM PST)
    • #18 UCLA Women's Swimming & Diving vs. #7 California in Los Angeles, CA (12:00 PM PST)
    • #14 UCLA Men's Tennis vs. #6 Georgia in Los Angeles, CA (1:00 PM PST)
    • #2 UCLA Women's Water Polo vs. USA (Scrimmage) in Los Angeles, CA (2:00 PM PST)
    • UCLA Men's Basketball vs. Washington State in Los Angeles, CA (4:00 PM PST)

    Sunday, January 31

    • #12 UCLA Men's Tennis vs. #20 Florida in Los Angeles, CA (1:00 PM PST)
    • #15 UCLA Women's Basketball vs. Utah in Salt Lake City, UT (1:00 PM PST)

    Monday, January 25

    • #4 UCLA Women's Gymnastics vs. #21 California in Berkeley, CA (7:00 PM PST)
    Go BRUINS!