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What’s Bruin: "UCLA Lives and Dies by Their Showtime Offense" Says ESPN Magazine

News and notes from around the UCLA-iverse.

NCAA Basketball: Michigan at UCLA Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Men’s Basketball

In Los Angeles, they say, not only do you have to win games, but you have to put on a good show. The Bruins are sure doing that in basketball this season courtesy of the most efficient offense in the nation. But maybe if you live by the show too much, you can die by the show, too.

From ESPN The Magazine, Hallie Grossman writes about this year’s UCLA team, the offense (very good), the defense (bad), how fun it is to watch (the offense, that is), and if they can overcome the glaring weakness on the other end of the court (the defense).

But even when the lights are low, it's impossible to miss the warning signs that UCLA's freewheeling offense is increasingly unable to cover for the team's soft underbelly: its defense. With just under six minutes to go in the game, UCLA still owns a 20-point lead over Cal ... but a lifeless interior defense surrenders 11 offensive rebounds to the Bears in the second half, and that lead dwindles to five with 23 seconds left. The Bruins beat Cal by 10, but three nights later, against Stanford, they let another lead shrink, and for the same reason. Six nights after that, they escape Utah by one point, their porous D allowing 50 points in the paint. A loss at home to Arizona on Jan. 21 is a revelation: When you live by the show, you die by it too.

Rodger Sherman at The Ringer, who like the rest of the basketball-following public heard about LaMelo Ball’s 92 point game for Chino Hills, wonders why some of the recruiting ranking services aren’t so high on Lonzo’s little brother.

LaMelo Ball is obviously really good. We can tell that by his genes and his ability to score 92 points in a game. UCLA chose to offer him a scholarship when he was just 13 years old. Maybe the Bruins saw the 5-foot-10 child as a prodigy, or maybe they just hoped offering him a scholarship would secure the elder Balls.

But "really good" is a sliding scale. 247Sports ranks him as the third-best player in the nation in the class of 2019 and the best point guard. However, 247’s composite ranking, which uses an algorithm to weigh rankings from other services, has him as the 93rd-best player in the class and 19th-best point guard. Scout, one of the services in that listing, has Ball as only a three-star prospect, not even a blue-chipper.

Speaking of big bro Lonzo, he was named to the Late Season Wooden Award Top 20 list.

Softball

David Gottlieb in the Daily Bruin writes about new additions to the roster for the UCLA softball team as the season opener looms.

Women’s Basketball

From USA Today, because of UCLA’s upset over Stanford at Maples, the Pac-12 women’s regular season championship could be a wild finish.

The Bruins play at Oregon State on Sunday, who lead the Pac-12 standings. The Bruins are only two games back.

Your Week in Rankings

GO BRUINS.