UCLA Not Underrated at All

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This is never why you listen to the stat heads. They will let you down every time. Just when you start to doubt UCLA, it goes on a huge winning streak with impressive wins. And just when you completely buy in and believe that UCLA has turned the corner, it loses on the road at Arizona State, 74-67.

Are we ever going to get an accurate read on this team or are we doomed to be on the back end of a trend?

Probably the latter.

Now, let's not sell No. 18 Arizona State short here. It is a very good basketball team (though, its fans should act like it) and already has a win at Pauley Pavilion. So this shouldn't have been a huge surprise, even though it sure feels like one. The Bruins had looked so good recently, I thought this was going to be a blowout. Factor in a home loss to the Sun Devils and this spelled revenge game.

Arizona State was ready. The Sun Devils were a dog at home (tough for a ranked team) and they played like they took that personally. The defense was great, and James Harden relishes playing against his home-town team. The Devils don't need to worry about the bubble any longer.

Now, you have to question UCLA, which still has not beaten a Top 25 opponent. The projected No. 5 seed seems pretty fair right now, and the Bruins don't seem underrated at all. And all of you college basketball fans know too well that No. 5 is the most dreaded seed in the tournament (outside of No. 16, of course). After a remarkable run of Final Four appearances, could UCLA be looking at a first-round knock this season?

Bruins fans had better hope I'm picking that way.

In other Pac-10 action:

Arizona 83, USC 76: The Wildcats are going to end up making it to the tournament. The streak is going to live. But Arizona goes to the tournament, is that enough to get Russ Pennell the full-time gig? Wildcats fans will say no. I'm think he will.

Washington State 67, Oregon 38: Ducks fans should prepare themselves for taunts of "Hang Time" in the near future. If Oregon hasn't called Reggie Theus yet, what are is it waiting for? Theus is the best possible coaching candidate out there. The Ducks should pull the plug on Ernie Kent right now. This is just sad. Look for Oregon to take its name off the jersey again. And who could blame them?

Washington 79, Oregon State 60: The Huskies really needed this sweep. Oh, was I already giving Washington Saturday's game against Oregon? You can hardly blame me.

UCLA Not Underrated at All originally appeared on NCAA Basketball FanHouse on Fri, 13 Feb 2009 02:30:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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