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UCLA Basketball—The Gauntlet Has Been Thrown Down

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USC Coach Talks Smack, UCLA has the team to make him pay

Jordan Adams will likely have a big game against smack talking USC
Jordan Adams will likely have a big game against smack talking USC
Jeff Gross

Three items of interest brewing on the expectations front for UCLA Basketball this fall.  First USC basketball husband-of-a-model coach is talking shots at UCLA.

We play up-tempo basketball here," he told his players. "If you want to play slow, go to UCLA."

Actually as bad as the USC team looks this year it seems more likely that UCLA and everyone else will score fast on them.  UCLA must not only beat but destroy USC this year to wash away the stink of Howland’s many problems with this annual series.

Speaking of rankings while USC is picked to finish eleventh, UCLA is picked to finish second in the preseason.  I think that expectation is reasonable with a caveat.   Arizona has so much talent on paper that there is no excuse for Sean Miller not finishing in the top 10 in the country.  They should be a favorite to win the PAC 12 and receive a number one seed out west.   Any new coach can credibly claim that he did not have time to catch up to the Arizona recruiting juggernaut.

The flipside of that is there is no excuse for UCLA finishing below second to Arizona in the PAC 12.  UCLA should win the PAC 12 if Sean Miller's Arizona team again underachieves.  UCLA returns its best player in Jordan Adams and a lock future NBAer in Kyle Anderson.  The media agrees in picking UCLA second place in the PAC 12 and in another poll #23 in the nation.

Steve Alford has had problems recruiting which makes living up to the preseason hype important.  Alford has to have a season that lives up to these expectations or things will only get worse.

Good news for Alford is he has a really good team.

Go Bruins.