It’s Basketball Time In Westwood!


Or, to put it more accurately, the Los Angeles Sports Arena which is near – of all places – the USC campus as UCLA’s basketball team, who has won more national championships than anyone in NCAA hoops with eleven, begins their 93rd season against Loyola Marymount tonight at 7:30 p.m.

Fox Sports West will televise the action.

With Pauley Pavilion undergoing renovations and not reopening until September of 2012, this will be the first time that the Bruins will be calling the 52 year-old Sports Arena home since 1965, when John Wooden led UCLA to a 28-2 record and, behind Gail Goodrich, won their second national championship.

Workers have been diligently getting the Sports Arena in shape for the Bruins, replacing seats,  putting in the floor of the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks and placing the UCLA decal at the center of that, and putting up all eleven championship banners in the rafters as well as painting much of the interior blue and adding a new scoreboard, video board, and blue lighting.

This will be the first of the 14 games that UCLA will play there, with the other four being at the Honda Center, 43 miles from campus in Anaheim, where they will play Pennsylvania on Dec.10, UC Davis on Dec.17, Arizona in the John Wooden Classic on January 5th, and Arizona State on Jan.7.

Shuttles from Jackie Robinson Stadium on the Veterans Administration grounds to the Sports Arena – and the Honda Center – will be provided for students and fans, students being admitted free while everyone else paying $16. The shuttles will leave two hours before kickoff.

As for the opener against LMU, who is 2-15 all-time against the Bruins and hasn’t beaten them since 1941…

Coach Ben Howland, beginning his ninth season at the helm, will be without guard Jerime Anderson due to a suspension, and center Anthony Stover due to an injured shoulder.

Everyone else, including Josh Smith and Reeves Nelson, who is featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s college basketball preview issue, is raring to go.