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Team of the Week: UCLA Bruins

CBS Sports Classic

NEW ORLEANS, LA - DECEMBER 23: Aaron Holiday #3 of the UCLA Bruins drives against Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #22 of the Kentucky Wildcats during the first half of the CBS Sports Classic at the Smoothie King Center on December 23, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

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It’s hard to overstate just how badly UCLA needed to get a win over No. 7 Kentucky on Saturday.

The Bruins have not been good this season. They currently rank 52nd on Kentucky even with the win over the Wildcats. Their best win prior to Saturday came against ... a 6-7 Wisconsin team? A 5-6 Georgia Tech team? South Dakota?

And it’s not like they’ve been running opponents off the floor, either. Central Arkansas took them to overtime. They snuck by Cal St.-Bakersfield and that South Dakota team.

All this was happening as UCLA became a fixture on TMZ. That’s what happens when you enroll two of the Ball brothers and one of them just so happens to shoplift in China, creating an international incident that featured a war of words between LaVar Ball and the President of the United States. The day before this game UCLA dismissed Jalen Hill and Cody Riley, who were involved in the shoplifting as well.

Should I mention that the Pac-12 is a mess this year, and the UCLA may not have that many chances to land great wins the rest of the way?

Then Saturday happened, and suddenly UCLA is back in the mix. Granted, we don’t know just how good Kentucky actually is this year. But I think we can all agree that they are pretty good, and getting a win over a pretty good team on a neutral court matters.


  • USC: UCLA wasn’t the only Pac-12 team that desperately needed a win. USC, a top ten team earlier this season, entered the Diamond Head Classic in Hawai’i with a 6-4 record after a home loss to Princeton on Monday. The Trojans then went out and won three in a row, taking home a tournament title ... and, more importantly, some positive momentum heading into Pac-12 play.
  • SAN DIEGO STATE: It’s a theme for Southern California’s basketball programs. The Aztecs have struggled much of the year, but they figured it out for a night, picking off No. 12 Gonzaga in Viejas Arena on Thursday evening.
  • WOFFORD: The Terriers went into the Dean Dome and knocked off No. 5 North Carolina in a game that they led by 14 points in the second half.