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What’s Bruin: College Basketball, the Stage Is Yours

News and notes from around the UCLA-iverse.

NCAA Basketball: Stanford at UCLA
Football is officially over—it’s basketball time.
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

While Bruin fans turned to thinking about the basketball season since well before it even began, much of the national sports audience needs the football season to finish before they start thinking about the hardcourt.

‘Tis over.

Myron Medcalf of ESPN has an update on what you missed if you’re just tuning in.

The first item on the list? It’s about what’s happening in Westwood...

Now, the Bruins enter Pac-12 play as the favorites to win the conference crown -- yes, we watched the UCLA-Oregon game in Eugene, folks. And after the road win over Kentucky on Dec. 3, the Bruins are a promising thoroughbred in the race for the Final Four.

With football over, a few click-seeking journalists have released their "too early" top 25’s. The UCLA Bruins haven’t appeared on too many, but check in at 25 if you’re asking Fox Sports’ Stewart Mandel.

There will inevitably be teams like Colorado this year that drastically improve their record. The Bruins are as good a bet as any. QB Josh Rosen returns after missing most of his sophomore season to injury and will be working with new OC Jedd Fisch from Michigan. Top-end defenders Tak McKinley and Eddie Vanderdoes are NFL-bound, but productive LB Kenny Young leads a promising D.

Former UCLA football player Nick Ekbatani, who played offensive line for the Bruins from 2006-09, was awarded $35 million in a lawsuit against Caltrans.

Ekbatani suffered severe injuries and was given only a 2 percent chance of survival, according to his attorney, Garo Mardirossian. He underwent 13 surgeries, lost his leg and will need lifetime medical care.

He sued Caltrans for $50 million, arguing the state agency knew the intersection at Diamond Street was dangerous and did nothing to address the issue.

Expert on UCLA sports? The Daily Bruin has a quiz to test your knowledge of Bruin teams in 2016. If you only follow the football and men’s basketball teams, you are going to get about two right.

Give it a try.

And look who's attending classes in Westwood after a summer in Rio playing for the USWNT: