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What’s Bruin: UCLA Basketball Is Motivated by Low Tournament Seed Projection

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This Monday afternoon, we've got plenty of UCLA Men's and Women's Basketball news, plus Gymnastics, Softball, Women's Tennis and Men's Volleyball.

NCAA Basketball: Oregon at UCLA Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Men’s Basketball

The Bruins, who were ranked in the top ten last week and just today vaulted to #6 in the nation, were put on the 4-seed line in Saturday’s mostly useless early look at who may or may not be getting protected seeds in the NCAA tournament. Useless but for the fodder it provides for people like us who need things to talk about day to day, and perhaps for coaches who can begin to make a public case for why their programs should be seeded higher.

Clay Fowler at the OC Register has just such a column with just such a coach: Steve Alford of the UCLA Bruins.

Alford not only cited the weight of his team’s best victories, but the strength of the three opponents to which UCLA suffered losses.

"You look at our losses, we lost at Oregon and we lost at USC, who I think is a very good basketball team, won over 20 games already," he said. "We lost to Arizona at home, who is a top 10 team. So I like what we’ve done. We’ve just got to continue to work. If anything, it’s motivation for our guys."

At Sports Illustrated, Lindsay Schnell has a piece on one of the UCLA basketball players you may not be as familiar with, former walk-on Jerrold Smith, and his journey to wearing the Four Letters at the greatest college basketball program in history:

Each meeting, Smith would rattle off different reasons for why he’d be an ideal member of the men’s team: He was already enrolled, he said, and already academically eligible. His transition would be seamless. He had no expectations; he just wanted a chance. The final selling point came the day he told Broussard, "Coach, I watch all your practices—I already know all your plays and drills."

"Now that caught my attention," Broussard says. "He already knew our guys well and hung out with them. They were obviously comfortable with him. We didn’t want to inject him in practice midseason because he’s obviously not going to play [in games], but if we did, we wanted him to be able to help us."

It’s a pretty cool story.

Jon Wilner at the College Hotline recaps the week in Pac-12 play. Wilner seems pretty sure that UCLA is going to drop the rivalry game at Pauley on Saturday...

Game of this weekend: USC at UCLA (Saturday).

The Trojans have dominated the series of late and will continue on that path unless UCLA defends for 40 minutes the way it defended for the final 10 against Oregon.

Women’s Basketball

It was injury added to insult this weekend for Cori Close’s basketball team, who got swept by the Oregon schools and lost star Jordin Canada in the first half against Oregon State with a head/neck injury.

Gymnastics

With perfect tens by Madison Kocian and Peng-Peng Lee on the bars, UCLA posted the highest score in the country in their win at Stanford this weekend.

Softball

The softball team opened the season with five wins this weekend in the Stacy Winsberg Memorial Tournament. The Bruins scored a total of 48 runs in the five contests while only allowing two.

Women’s Tennis

The #20 UCLA women’s tennis team defeated San Diego on Sunday by a score of 5-2.

Men’s Volleyball

The #4-ranked Bruins broke their losing streak with a five-set win at #9 Pepperdine this weekend.

GO BRUINS.