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What’s Bruin: Should You Believe the Hype around UCLA Basketball?

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News and notes from around the UCLA-iverse.

NCAA Basketball: Arizona at UCLA
Ball, Leaf & Co., look to rebound after the loss to Arizona at the Galen Center tonight.
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Men’s Basketball

ESPN’s Myron Medcalf takes on six teams that achieved early-season hype followed by conference stumbles, and tells you which ones you should still believe in and which ones you shouldn’t.

For now, he’s sticking with the Bruins.

This is still a team with Pac-12 title hopes and Final Four aspirations. This is still the No. 1 offense on KenPom.com. Yes, its sub-100 defense (125th on KenPom.com) is troubling. But it's a risk to doubt a team with the best point guard in America, Lonzo Ball, and a win over Kentucky at Rupp Arena, which shattered a streak John Calipari's squad had defended for more than two years.

Oh, that team. Clay Fowler at Inside UCLA, in previewing tonight’s game across town, asks if that team is "closing the gap."

The further it delves into Pac-12 play, the more USC’s 14-0 start this season seems a product of a weak non-conference schedule. Although they did play Arizona close and lost a game to Cal they probably shouldn’t have. But 4-4 in the Pac-12 isn’t exactly what Andy Enfield would have hoped for.

The worst thing that could have happened for USC was probably Arizona handing UCLA its second loss of the season on Saturday. Considering the Bruins’ glaring weakness is defense, UCLA will be plenty motivated to prove itself on that end of the floor against USC.

Teams that are always talking about "closing the gap" with their heated rivals, well, aren’t.

Football

Lindsey Thiry at the LA Times checks in with UCLA recruiting heading into national signing day.

The Bruins have 18 recruits committed in the 2017 class, including three players who have enrolled for the winter quarter: Cornerback Darnay Holmes, tight end Jimmy Jaggers and defensive lineman Jaelan Phillips.

Recruits can sign a letter of intent on Feb. 1.

The piece includes an up-to-date list of UCLA commits.

Men’s Golf

The men’s golf team finished 7th place in the Arizona Intercollegiate tournament which concluded on Tuesday, with two Bruins finishing in the top ten in individual competition.

Lonzo Ball

The freshman assist-machine could pass Pooh Richardson tonight for UCLA’s all time single-season freshman assists record:

GO BRUINS.