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What’s Bruin: UCLA Basketball’s Tournament Seed Projections Slipping

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News and notes from around the UCLA-iverse.

NCAA Basketball: Arizona at UCLA
TJ Leaf and fellow freshman Lonzo Ball are on USBWA Midseason Watch Lists.
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Men’s Basketball

After a home loss to then 13th-ranked Arizona in Pauley Pavilion, the UCLA Bruins—only just last week being projected as a tournament 1-seed and popular Final Four pick—have lost their top spot in the West in tournament projections, according to CBSSports.com’s resident bracketologist Jerry Palm.

UCLA is not only no longer a top seed, it has dropped down to a 3-seed. The Bruins are living off a win at Kentucky, which is obviously a very good win, but they don't have much else other than that. They have now lost to the other two contenders in the conference and their next best win is over Cal, which is a borderline tournament quality team. UCLA will get one more shot at both Arizona and Oregon, so the Bruins' chances for a No. 1 seed aren't done yet, but their margin for error is pretty slim.

From Tracy Pierson at Bruin Report Online, UCLA’s best-in-the-nation offense is going to need some defense to achieve its season goals.

There's one little thing we all might have forgotten on our way to that Final Four party. You need to pack a little defense in your suitcase, too, because you're going to need it on the trip. Final Four teams -- and championship teams -- almost exclusively have a defense that ranks among the top 50 or so in most defensive stat categories, like its opponents' effective field goal percentage, and UCLA is currently ranked 89th (47.9%).

Bruin freshmen standouts TJ Leaf and Lonzo Ball are both on watch lists for the U.S. Basketball Writers’ Association awards for national player of the year and freshman of the year.

Football

Jon Wilner at the College Hotline is taking an early look at Pac-12 football projections for the 2017 campaign, and he doesn’t even like Jim Mora’s football team’s chances of finishing in the top half of the Pac-12 South.

4. UCLA: The coaching changes were for the better, and I’m presuming Josh Rosen is healthy. But the Bruins don’t have an established identity on offense, they lack proven playmakers — the dearth of talent at receiver is mystifying given UCLA’s recruiting base — and the defense suffered significant losses. More than four wins? Sure. But eight or nine? That’s tough to envision.

Men’s Volleyball

The Daily Bruin’s Kelsey Angus writes about the senior and freshman combo of Micah Stahl and Daenan Gyimah at middle blocker.

The #2-ranked Bruins beat SC on Friday night and are 4-0 in MPSF play.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Day

Here’s a behind the scenes look from Bruin Films at Kareem Abdul-Jabbar day last Saturday at Pauley Pavilion:

GO BRUINS.