UCLA grabbed more media attention Saturday, but in a good way.
In the days after an unflattering Sports Illustrated article was published, the Bruins posted their biggest win of the Pac-12 schedule and then denied Washington a chance at an outright league title. Not bad for a team “under fire.”
Click here for more on the UCLA report
The 75-69 win over the Huskies didn’t feature much defense – open looks were common, even if the teams only combined to shoot 45 percent from the field – until the second half when UCLA held UW to just 22 points. Even then, it was as much about Washington (21-9, 14-4 in Pac-12) missing shots. It had no fewer than four chances to tie the game in the final 30 seconds, but either missed or botched plays.
That opens the door for Cal (23-7, 13-4) to earn a share of the regular-season crown and the top seed in next week’s conference tournament with a win Sunday vs. Stanford.
Then there’s the Bruins.
The thought of UCLA (18-13, 11-7) winning four games and claiming the automatic bid used to be outrageous. But they’ll play in L.A. at the Staples Center, which isn’t their home court, but given that The Sports Arena – not Pauley Pavilion – served as their “home court” this season, it’s close enough.
Say the Bruins are the 6 seed. That puts them in line to face USC, Arizona and likely Washington to reach the title game. That’s improbable, but could happen.
That happens, the SI report will be a distant memory.
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Steve Prohm announced on Monday that starting center Jameel McKay will not be in the lineup on Wednesday when the Cyclones take on Texas Tech.
“He’ll practice today because I want him in practice,” Prohm said, “but game-wise, he’s suspended.”
McKay did not make the trip to Stillwater with the team on Saturday, where Iowa State beat Oklahoma State, 64-59. Prohm has not gotten into specifics regarding the cause of McKay’s suspension, but it’s reportedly an issue with the way he has been practicing. McKay is dealing with a nagging knee injury, which may play a role in the situation as well.
“My hope is he’ll be with us on Saturday,” Prohm said.
Like the Coaches Poll, Villanova found themselves No. 1 in the AP Poll during the regular season for the first time in the history of the program.
And like the Coaches Poll, there isn’t much in the way of a consensus when it comes to who is the No. 1 team, as there are six teams that received No. 1 votes in the poll this week.
The biggest shock to me?
The No. 1 team in the NBC Sports Top 25, Iowa, received just 11 first place votes and is ranked fourth in the AP Poll.
They were ranked fifth in the Coaches Poll.
Can we get Fran McCaffery the love they deserve?
Here is the rest of the AP Poll:
1. Villanova (20-3, 32 first-place votes)
2. Maryland (21-3, 13)
3. Oklahoma (19-3, 7)
4. Iowa (19-4, 11)
5. Xavier (21-2)
6. Kansas (19-4, 1)
7. Virginia (19-4, 1)
8. Michigan State (20-4)
9. North Carolina (19-4)
10. West Virginia (19-4)
11. Oregon (18-4)
12. Miami (FL) (18-4)
13. Louisville (19-4)
14. Iowa State (17-6)
15. Texas A&M (18-5)
16. SMU (20-2)
17. Arizona (19-5)
18. Purdue (19-5)
19. Dayton (19-3)
20. Providence (18-6)
21. Baylor (17-6)
22. Kentucky (17-6)
23. USC (18-5)
24. Texas (16-7)
25. Wichita State (17-6)
DROPPED OUT: No. 22 Indiana, No. 25 South Carolina
NEW ADDITIONS: No. 23 USC, No. 24 Texas