Bruins enjoy seed

first_imgOf those three teams – Oregon, Stanford and Washington – the Bruins could face two of them en route to a possible championship repeat. Fourth-seed Oregon plays fifth-seeded Arizona in Thursday’s first game, with the winner meeting the winner of the UCLA-Cal/Oregon State game. Stanford and Washington are on the other side of the bracket, meaning UCLA could only face those schools in the title game. The Huskies provide UCLA’s most recent motivation. The Bruins dropped a 61-51, uninspiring decision at Washington on Saturday in what was UCLA’s worst effort of the season. “I think it was an eye-opener,” UCLA wing Josh Shipp said. “We had a team meeting. I think we regrouped and we’ll be ready. We watched the film and we talked. The film was great. It was rough.” of the Pacific-10 Conference tournament Collison’s slump: UCLA point guard Darren Collison was working on his shot during an individual workout before Tuesday’s practice, trying to shake loose from a season-ending slump that ended with Saturday’s 2-for-15 effort at Washington. Collison is shooting 27.5 percent (11 for 40) in his past four games. Before that, he was shooting 54.3 percent from the field. The slump began after perhaps his best game of the season, in which he scored 17 points and had 15 assists at Arizona. Two years ago, UCLA and was gone before the first day was over. Last season, a late-jelling UCLA team rolled into the Pac-10 Tournament, then steamrolled its opponents en route to the title. Now, having entered the season as the hunted only to emerge as the league’s regular-season champion, the top-seeded Bruins open play Thursday against either No.8-seed California or No.9-seed Oregon State (they play tonight) in an ideal position. “You gotta love it because that’s the best position for you,” UCLA junior guard and Pac-10 Player of the Year Arron Afflalo said. “In my eyes, it gives us the inner confidence that we are the best. We did win this conference outright, well- deservingly, and not to be cocky, but to be confident, and how to straddle that line, and understand that if we don’t come to play, with that type of bull’s-eye, we’ll be beat. “There’s three teams in this conference that beat us this year, so we’re beatable.” center_img “I think he’s been taking pretty good shots,” Howland said. “I think a lot of it was, coming back from Arizona and having a lot of attention, and maybe getting a little bit caught up in that.” Aboya ready: Bruins reserve center/power forward Alfred Aboya went through most of practice Tuesday and said afterward he would be ready to play in the Pac-10 Tournament. Aboya missed the loss at Washington with a bruised knee. “I’m playing,” Aboya said. “There’s no pain at all, but it’s still a concern mentally.” Increased expectations: When Afflalo, Shipp and Lorenzo Mata were freshman, the Bruins bowed out of the Pac-10 tournament in the first round, and it didn’t come that unexpectedly. “The expectation of winning is far and beyond what it was two years ago as an incoming freshman, and that’s a good thing,” Afflalo said. “That’s the way it should be. John Wooden created something spectacular around here, and it’s good that it’s starting to live on once again.” [email protected] (818) 713-3607 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more