The UCLA basketball team has a mathematical chance of winning the Pac-12 regular season championship, but realistically, can they do it?
The Pac-12 is debilitated and it is eating itself. Every week it seems like there is a new contender vying for a chance to win the regular season championship and every week it seems contenders are falling. With all of this calamity, the UCLA basketball team, which is also susceptible to the trials and tribulations of this insipid Pac-12 season, still has a chance of claiming another conference title.
RIght now, the Bruins are tied for third place in the Pac-12 standings with a 5-3 conference record. Before Thursday, they were in fifth place but were bumped up after Oregon beat then 2nd-place Utah.
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UCLA is currently on a two-game win streak, which snapped a three-game losing streak. Though both victories put them back in contention for the Pac-12 title, the wins were against struggling Arizona and Washington State. Currently, UCLA is 0-3 against three of the top four teams (Arizona State, Oregon State, USC) at the top of the standings. On Saturday, the Bruins face the top dawg in the conference, Washington, who is currently 8-0 in the Pac.
If UCLA beats Washington, they will only be two games out of first place with nine games remaining before the Pac-12 Tournament. That is plenty of time to make up ground and try to win the conference. The only thing is, they have not exactly shown that they can claim victories against some of the Pac-12’s better teams.
What gives me hope is that the Bruins have shown that they can play as a team. When they work together, they can put up a lot of points, dominate the glass, and work toward a high shooting percentage. Again, much of that style of play has come against lesser teams, but the Bruins have momentum on their side.
In the last two games, not only have the Bruins displayed cohesiveness on the offensive side, but they have utilized different defensive tactics that have limited their opponents to some of the lowest statistical outputs in conference play against UCLA.
It is a long shot (admittedly backed by hope), but the bottom line is that UCLA has talent and they are starting to work as a collective unit which makes them very dangerous. If (and that is a big if) the Bruins can beat the Huskies, then there is no reason they can’t beat the other top teams in the league and win the conference. But once again, that is up to them.