UCLA Basketball: Bruins Beat Kentucky, But There Is Still A Long Way To Go


The UCLA Basketball team defeated the #1 Kentucky Wildcats in the biggest game in the Head Coach Steve Alford’s tenure. Though this is a huge win, the Bruins still have a long way to go.

Let us be cautious going forward. The UCLA Basketball (5-3) team just defeated the #1 Kentucky Wildcats (7-1) at Pauley Pavilion, 87-77, but there is still work to be done.

RELATED: UCLA Basketball Takes Down #1 Kentucky

There is no doubt that this is the biggest victory in the Steve Alford era and it was a perfect setting for an upset. The UCLA Athletic department went all out with a “Gold Out”, the student section was loud and proud and the team itself was primed for a huge game.

UCLA Bruins
UCLA Bruins /

UCLA Bruins

With the two most decorated programs in college basketball going at it for the first time at Pauley Pavilion, this was historically a huge game. Unfortuanetly, the recent state of both programs seemingly made Kentucky a favorite as the Wildacts have dominated under Head Coach John Calipari while UCLA under Alford has not.

That did not stop the Bruins as we saw the best UCLA Basketball performance this season — and arguably in the last three years — and it was a little shocking.

After UCLA had lost to Monmouth in their season opener and was wrecked by Kansas in the Maui Invitational last week, things obviously  not in UCLA’s favor. Kentucky was 7-0 coming into this game and had only lost once last season (in the semifinal game of the 2015 Final Four). Who would not choose the Wildcats in this game?

To quote the great Han Solo, “Great kid! Don’t get cocky!”

But it happened. UCLA slayed the dragon. Down goes Kentucky which gives the Bruins confidence going forward. But just be careful Bruins. Just because this happened against Kentucky, does not mean it will happen every game.

The important thing is that UCLA Basketball team needs to build on this. Take what worked and continue that going forward.

For example, UCLA’s offense was balanced as every starter scored in double digits. The Bruin’s bench had also played an important role as Jonah Bolden and Prince Ali gave solid performances.

Dec 3, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins guard Prince Ali (5) dunks the ball against Kentucky Wildcats forward Alex Poythress (22) during the second half at Pauley Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The best part was the emergence of a defensive game plan as the Bruins were golden in every aspect of this. They pressured the Wildcat offense, they were great at rotating to the ball and did a phenomenal job protecting the rim. UCLA had limited Kentucky to 25-for-66 shooting and the big men, Thomas Welsh and Tony Parker, dominated underneath as they helped UCLA win the battle of the boards, 38-37.

The Bruins needs to harness this and take it with them into every single game this year. It seemed like UCLA Basketball was in for a long season after last week, but now appears that they are ready to face their remaining opponents head on.

Just be cautious, Bruins. Just because you beat the #1 team in the nation, does not mean you are the #1 team in the nation. That will take time as there is still a lot to do, but this is a great place to take off from, especially with Gonzaga, North Carolina and Arizona on the schedule.

To quote the great Han Solo, “Great kid! Don’t get cocky!”

Next: VIDEO: UCLA's Prince Ali Posterizes Kentucky

UCLA next plays Sunday, December 6 against Long Beach State. They follow that up with a trip north to Gonzaga on December 12. Go Bruins!