Renovated Pauley rings in promising season for UCLA

A lot has changed since the UCLA Bruins last hit the hardwood for game action. One, Ben Howland brought in the second-best recruiting class in the country that included two of the five highest-ranked players in the nation. Two, Pauley Pavilion's renovation is complete, meaning the Bruins can return to their hallowed home for the 2012-13 season after having to play "home" games off campus last year.

"Pauley is just tremendous. The transformation from the old Pauley to the new Pauley is really, really special," Howland told the assembled masses at Thursday's men's media day at Pac-12 Networks headquarters in San Francisco. "It's a modern day, beautiful arena, but still captured the tradition and history of what's happened there in the past."

Howland believes he has an exciting product to put on the floor, too. The Bruins are picked to finish second in the Pac-12 and are ranked 13th in both the AP and USA Today Coaches preseason top 25 polls.

"We have a great nucleus of kids returning from last year's team that I think really made strong strides," Howland said. "Added with that is a very good freshman class coming in that has some very good players. So that blend of youth and experience is a real positive for us."

[See photos from men's basketball media day on Facebook]

UCLA's full podium session from media day is here:

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