UCLA Leaves Little Doubt Over USC

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There was a strange occurrence following UCLA's huge cross-town win over USC. The fans stayed in the stands. You hardly see that any more considering the current college student's inclination to run onto the floor and garner attention like they were trying out for the Real World after a huge conference win.

That's not UCLA. Leave those celebrations of regular-season games to the Wake Forest fans. Bruins fans expect more. And following Wednesday's game, there is reason for excitement in Westwood.

Losses to Arizona State and Washington left UCLA vulnerable in the Pac-10. Leading many to believe that the Bruins could be overthrown in the conference.

Yeah, not so fast. Hey, that's my bad.

UCLA swept the Bay Area schools over the weekend and on Wednesday, unleashed its greatest effort in three years over USC. The Trojans, I thought, were a little overrated going into the season. And I've long felt that Tim Floyd was overmatched by Ben Howland. But this was a rivalry game, and UCLA smothered USC right from the start.

The key was the defense. The Bruins harassed Taj Gibson right from the start and frustrated the Trojans star, holding him to only two points before he left with a pinkie injury early in the second half. USC guard Daniel Hacket had been on a good scoring run recently, but had only two points before fouling out. UCLA simply outplayed its overmatched opponent.

There was a concern that the Bruins could be flat following it's big weekend, but not on Wednesday. Of course, there are still long-term concerns for this team that -- at times -- can stand around too much on offense and can be dominated by bigs. Right now, though, the Bruins have appeared to have righted the ship and that should be of concern to its upcoming opponents.

UCLA Leaves Little Doubt Over USC originally appeared on NCAA Basketball FanHouse on Thu, 05 Feb 2009 02:32:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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