Bruins Face Tigers in Final Four on Saturday

March 27, 2006

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SATURDAY, APRIL 1 - No. 7 (AP)/NO. 8 (ESPN/USAToday) UCLA (31-6, 14-4, Pac-10 RegularSeason/Tournament Champions, No. 2 Seed in OaklandRegional) vs. No. 19/No. 18 LSU Tigers (27-8, No. 4 seedin Atlanta Regional) in NCAA Semifinals inIndianapolis, IN (RCA Dome) (Tipoff - approx. 8:47 p.m.EST (5:47 p.m. PST)/TV- CBS/Radio- 570 AM, with ChrisRoberts and Don MacLean).

(Overall 31-6/Pac-10 14-4, Pac-10 champ)

No. Name Pos. Ht. Cl. Ppg Rpg
21 Cedric Bozeman F 6-6 Sr. 7.7 3.2
23 Luc Richard Mbah a Moute F 6-7 Fr. 8.9 8.1
15 Ryan Hollins C 7-01/2 Sr. 6.9 4.6
1 Jordan Farmar G 6-2 So. 13.4 2.5
4 Arron Afflalo G 6-5 So. 16.2 4.2

Series History vs. LSU - UCLA leads it, 7-0. The lastmeeting was at LSU on Dec. 17, 1994, with UCLAwinning, 92-72. The Bruins would go on to win the 1995NCAA Title that season.

The Tigers have won their last four games and 11 oftheir last 12. In the NCAA Tournament, LSU has beatenNo. 13 seed Iona 80-64, No. 12 seed Texas A&M 58-57,No. 1 seed Duke 62-54 and No. 2 seed Texas 70-60(OT).UCLA's 11-game winning streak is the longest in thenation.

This is UCLA's second appearance in the NCAATournament under Ben Howland.

The No. 2 seed is UCLA's highest since 1997, when theBruins were No. 2 in the Midwest. That year, UCLAadvanced to the Elite Eight, defeating CharlestonSouthern and Xavier in Auburn Hills and Iowa Statein San Antonio before losing to Minnesota.

Overall, this is UCLA's 40th appearance in the NCAATournament. UCLA holds the record for mostchampionships won (11 in 1964-65-67-68-69-70-71-72-73-75-95) and longest winning streak - 38 gamesbetween 1964 and 1974.

In addition, in NCAA Tournament play, UCLA is tiedfor second in games won (89, Kentucky is No. 1, 99and North Carolina is tied for No. 2, 89) and is secondin tournament winning percentage (.736).

This is UCLA's 16th Final Four, tying North Carolinafor No. 1 on that list. In its 15 previous appearances,UCLA has won 25 games (No. 1 on that list) and lostjust five (.833).

UCLA HEAD COACH Ben Howland - In his thirdseason at UCLA and 12th year as a collegiate head coach(in his 25th season of college basketball, as an assistant andhead coach), he has led the Bruins to their first Final Foursince 1995.

In the last two years, UCLA is 49-17 (.743) underHowland's direction.
2005-06 - UCLA (31-6, 37 games/.838)
2004-05 - UCLA (18-11, 29 games/.621)
2003-04 - UCLA (11-17, 28 games/.393)
UCLA Totals - 60-34, 94 games/.638
2000-03 - Pittsburgh (89-40, 129 games/69.0)
1995-99 - N. Arizona (79-59, 138 games/57.2)
Overall Totals - (228-133, 361 games/.632)

A prime candidate for National Coach of the Yearhonors, on March 6 was named the Pac-10 andUSBWA Dist. IX Coach of the Year and on March 1,he was named a finalist for the Jim Phelan NationalCoach of the Year award. He is also a finalist for theClair Bee Award (sponsored by Chip Hilton Sportsand endorsed by the Naismith Memorial BasketballHall of Fame). Has also been honored, CBS and SI. comas the Pac-10 Coach of the Year.

It's Howland's third conference Coach of the Yearhonor overall (2002-Big East Coach of the Year/atPittsburgh and 1997- Big Sky Coach of the Year/atNorthern Arizona). It's only the fifth time a UCLAcoach has won Pac-10 Coach of the Year honors sincethe award was first handed out in 1976 (Steve Lavin(2001), Jim Harrick (1995), Walt Hazzard (1987) andGary Cunningham (1978).

He has led a team to at least the 'Sweet 16' for thethird time in five years - Pittsburgh in 2002 and 2003and UCLA in 2006 - and is in the Final Four for thefirst time in his career. Howland's overall NCAA recordis 8-4 (4-1 UCLA, 4-2 at Pittsburgh and 0-1 at NAU).

Howland recorded his 50th Bruin win against Oregon Stateand is now 60-34 (.638), including 49-17 (.743) in thelast two years as the Bruins' head coach. The USC gameon Feb. 19 was his 350th game as a collegiate headcoach.

He has led UCLA this season to three Pac-10 road sweeps(at the Oregon schools, first time since 2000-01, at theArizona schools, first time since 1996-97, at the BayArea schools, first time since 2000) - not since 1994-95have the Bruins had three Pac-10 road sweeps (at theArizona, Washington and Bay Area schools/1995 was thelast year UCLA won the NCAA Championship). Thisseason the Bruins have swept (home/away) the Oregonschools (first time since 2001) and the Arizona schools(first time since 1997).

He recorded his 200th career victory on Nov. 19, whenUCLA defeated Delaware State 56-37 in Pauley Pavilion.

In Howland's second year (2004-05) at UCLA, he joinedan elite list of college coaches (28) who have led threedifferent teams to the NCAA Tournament (Howland'soverall NCAA record is 8-4) - 2006 UCLA (Final Four),2005 UCLA, 2003 Pittsburgh ('Sweet 16), 2002Pittsburgh ('Sweet 16') and 1998 Northern Arizona. In2005, Howland led the Bruins back to the NCAATournament for the first time since 2002; he directed theBruins to a win over nationally-ranked Washington; ledUCLA to a third-place tie in the Pac-10 and to a Pac-10Tournament appearance. In Howland's first year (2003-04) at UCLA, highlights included a 9-3 start (5-0 in thePac-10), wins over NCAA Tournament teams MichiganState, Washington (twice) and Vermont and anappearance in the Pac-10 Tournament.

In his last two seasons (2002-03) at Pittsburgh - in 2003, heled the Panthers to a 28-5 overall record, No. 4 nationalranking, NCAA 'Sweet 16' and the Big East TournamentChampionship and in 2002, Pittsburgh was 29-6 overall(school record for wins), advanced to the NCAA 'Sweet16' and the Big East Tournament title game andHowland was the consensus National Coach of the Year.

HONORS- Here's a list of the Bruin team and individualplayer honors. On March 6, Jordan Farmar and ArronAfflalo were named first-team All-Pac-10 (UCLA leads theconference with 104 first-team selections).

Jordan Farmar - A member of the Oakland Regionaland All Pac-10 Tournament teams, on March 10, nameda All-American. On March 7, wasnamed first-team USBWA All. Dist. IX, on March 6, heearned first-team All-Pac-10 and was named to theWooden Award finalist list (22 players) and on March1, was named the Pac-10 Most Valuable Player On Feb. 18, Farmar was namedfirst-team NABC All-Dist. 15. He was on the mid-seasonNaismith Trophy (30 players) and Wooden Award (30players) lists. He is also a finalist for the Bob Cousy Award(nation's top point guard). Farmar is one of just fourplayers, he's the only underclassman, mentioned for allthree honors (joining senior guards, Illinois' Dee Brown,Pittsburgh's Carl Krauser and Syracuse's GerryMcNamara).

Arron Afflalo - A member of the Oakland Regional andAll-Pac-10 Tournament teams, on March 21 was nameda fourth-team All-American. On March 7,was named a first-team USBWA All-Dist. IX Defensive All-American, on March6 was a first-team All-Pac-10 selection and named Pac-10 Player of the Week (for his play in the Bruins' sweepof the Bay Area), and on Feb. 18, Afflalo was namedfirst-team NABC All-Dist. 15. He was named an earlyseasonAll-American by and named to the NITSeason Tip-Off All-Tournament team.

Farmar and Afflalo - were named the nation's No. 3backcourt by (Jan. 25).

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute - on March 7 was namedthe CBS and Pac-10 Freshmanof the Year, on March 6 was named the Pac-10Freshman of the Year (and Honorable Mention All-Pac-10) and a Freshman All-American He was named to Seth Davis' SI.comAll-Glue team on Feb. 15 (given to players who emphasizeteam play over individualism). He was named National Freshman of the Week (Jan. 30) forhis efforts in UCLA's two victories at the Oregon schools.

Ryan Hollins - was named the Most Outstanding Playerat the Oakland Regional and joined Jordan Farmar andArron Afflalo on the All-Region team.Darren Collison - on March 6 was named a Pac-10Honorable Mention All-Freshman selection.

March 25 - No. 7 UCLA 50, No. 4 Memphis 45 - before19,689 at the Oakland Arena in the NCAA RegionalFinal, UCLA's tenacious defensive effort stymied highscoringMemphis and the No. 2 seeded Bruins advancedto the 'Final Four' for the 16th time in school history(tying North Carolina for most appearances in the FinalFour), with a 50-45 win over the No. 1 seeded Tigers. Itwas UCLA's 11th consecutive win (longest winningstreak since 1997/longest current winning streak in thenation) and stopped Memphis' seven-game winningstreak.

Although UCLA had just four, two-point field goalsin the second half, UCLA's defensive game-effortlimited Memphis to a season-low 45 points (the Tigerswere averaging 81.0 points a game) and a season-low 21first half points. Earlier in the season (Nov. 23, in anNIT Season Tip-Off semifinal at Madison SquareGarden), Memphis scored a Bruin opponent season-high88 points, to defeat UCLA 88-80. For the Bruins, their50 points tied a season-low and it was the eighth timethis season UCLA has held an opponent to 50 points orless, including twice in the NCAA Tournament (UCLA78-Belmont 44).

In UCLA NCAA Tournament history, the Bruins' 50points is their second lowest ever (scored 41 vs.Princeton in a 1996 43-41 loss to the Tigers in an NCAAfirst round game in Indianapolis) and Memphis' 45points was the third-lowest scored vs. UCLA (the lowestis UCLA's 1969 West Regional win over New MexicoState 53-38, followed by Princeton's 43).

With 4:51 left to play, Memphis closed the gap to fourpoints (40-36), on a dunk by Joey Dorsey. But in the nextfour minutes, the Bruins outscored the Tigers 10-3,including 6-8 from the foul line (3-4 by Cedric Bozemanand 3-4 by Arron Afflalo), to lead 50-39 with :12remaining. In the final 11 seconds, Memphis scored itsonly three-pointers of the game.

The Bruins led at halftime (28-21) and held the Tigersto .278 (10-36) from the field and .000 (0-10) from threepointrange.

UCLA was led by Afflalo's 15 points and RyanHollins' 14 points and season-high tying nine rebounds.Hollins was named the Oakland Regional MostOutstanding Player and joined Affalo and Jordan Farmaron the All-Tournament team.

The Bruins (31-6, one game of tying the school recordfor wins in a single-season) shot a season-low .350 (14-40) from the field, .250 (2-8) from three-point range and.513 (20-39) from the foul line, with 36 rebounds (theBruins have been outrebounded the last three games andfour of the last f ive), seven assists, 17 turnovers, twoblocked shots and four steals.

Memphis (33-4) shot .315 (17-54) from the field, .118(2-17) from three-point range and .600 (9-15) from thefoul line, with a game and opponent season -high 41rebounds (Memphis held the previous opponent seasonhighwith 40 in its earlier win over UCLA), five assists, agame-high 18 turnovers, one blocked shot and eightsteals. The Tigers were led by Darius Washington's 13points.

March 23 - No. 7 UCLA 73, No. 5 Gonzaga 71 - before19,596 at the Oakland Arena in an NCAA 'Sweet 16'contest that will go down in NCAA Tournament historyfor its frenzied ending, UCLA held Gonzaga scorelessfor the final 3:27 and overcame a nine-point deficit byscoring 11 consecutive points to defeat the Bulldogs 73-71 and advance to the school's eighth RegionalChampionship game since 1975 (and 23rd in schoolhistory). The loss snapped Gonzaga's 20-game winningstreak and it was UCLA's 10th consecutive victory.

Here's a breakdown of the final 3:27 (courtesy of theSan Francisco Chronicle) -
3:27 - GU 71, UCLA 62 (Adam Morrison FTs)
3:12 - GU 71, UCLA 64 (Luc Richard Mbah a Moute
3:04 - GU 71, UCLA 64 (Gonzaga turnover)
2:19 - GU 71, UCLA 64 (Gonzaga miss)
2:06 - GU 71, UCLA 66 (Mbah a Moute layup)
1:33 - GU 71, UCLA 66 (Gonzaga miss)
1:30 - GU 71, UCLA 66 (Gonzaga miss)
1:02 - GU 71, UCLA 66 (Gonzaga miss)
0:49 - GU 71, UCLA 68 (Jordan Farmar jumper)
0:24 - GU 71, UCLA 68 (Gonzaga miss)
0:19 - GU 71, UCLA 70 (Ryan Hollins FTs)
0:12 - GU 71, UCLA 70 (Gonzaga turnover, steal byFarmar)
0:09 - GU 71, UCLA 72 (Mbah a Moute layup, assist
by Farmar)
0:04 - GU 71, UCLA 72 (Gonzaga turnover, steal byMbah a Moute)
0:01.9 - GU 71, UCLA 73 (Arron Afflalo 1-2 FTs)
0:00 - GU 71, UCLA 73 (Gonzaga miss)
Gonzaga led by 13 points at halftime (42-29).

In'Sweet 16' contests and beyond, the Bruins overcomingthat 13-point halftime deficit tied for the second-biggesthalftime comeback in NCAA Tournament history.

UCLA had four players in double figures - led by 15points each from Jordan Farmar (he's led UCLA inscoring the last two games and three of the last four/hissteal with :12 left led to UCLA's winning basket byMbah a Moute) and Arron Afflalo (11 in the second half,including a free throw, with 1.9 seconds remaining, thatgave UCLA its final 73-71 advantage). Luc RichardMbah a Moute had his eighth double/double of theseason, 14 points and game-high 10 rebounds (he's ledthe Bruins in rebounding the last four games and in 30 ofUCLA's 36). In the final 3:12, Mbah a Moute scored sixpoints and a steal with four seconds remaining that led toAfflalo's foul shots).

The Bruins (30-6, winning exactly 30 games for thefifth time in school history/the school record is 32, 1995)shot .404 (23-57) from the field, .286 (6-21) from thefoul line and .700 (21-30) from the foul line, with 32rebounds, 12 assists, 10 turnovers, four blocked shotsand five steals.

Gonzaga (29-4) shot .471 (24-51) from the field(including .577, 15-26 in the first half), .300 (3-10) fromthree-point range and .769 (20-26) from the foul line,with a game-high 37 rebounds, 14 assists, a game-high17 turnovers, four blocked shots and three steals. TheBulldogs were led by Adam Morrison's 24 points.

The Last Nine - UCLA enters the NCAA Final Four withthe nation's longest active winning streak - 11 games -its longest since 1996-97 (12 games). During those 11games, UCLA is averaging 70.4 points while holdingopponents to 54.7 points. Only one of the 11 teams hasscored more than 60 points in a game. UCLA hasoutrebounded seven of the 11 opponents and has amargin of +3.8 (32.5 - 28.7) in that span. UCLA isshooting .492 from the field and .391 from three-pointrange while holding the 11 opponents to .396 from thefloor and .312 from the arc.

The Bruins Are - 31-5 when holding the opponent under80 points, 23-1 when leading at halftime, 17-1 whenshooting .500 or better from the field, 15-1 when holdingthe opponent to under .400, 26-2 when outshooting theopponent from the field, 20-2 when outshooting theopponent from three-point range, 23-3 with a reboundadvantage and 28-1 when leading with five minutes toplay in regulation.

Defense - UCLA has held 10 of its last 20 opponentsunder .400 and three under .300. Only four times inthe last 20 games has an opponent shot better than.464. Sixteen of those 20 opponents scored 60 pointsor less, including 10 of the last 11. WSU's 30 pointswas the lowest total by a Bruin opponent since the1966-67 season, when Oregon scored 25. Last season(all games), the Bruins allowed 71.7 points a game(this season, 58.6, a difference of -13.1 points).

In the final Pac-10 games only statistics, UCLA was first inscoring defense (59.3) and first in scoring margin (+8.4)and rebounding defense (28.1) and third in FG% defense(.427) and fourth in 3PT FG% defense (.338). In leaguegames, the Bruins are also first in offensive FG% (.469).

In the Second Half - In the NCAA first round gameagainst Belmont, UCLA outscored the Bruins 25-5 tostart the second half after leading by 12 (35-23) athalftime. Against Alabama, UCLA built an eightpointsecond half lead (the game was tied at halftime)and won by three. In the Sweet 16 contest vs.Gonzaga, the Bruins outscored the Bulldogs 44-29 inthe final 20 minutes. In the Pac-10 Tournament, UCLAled Oregon State by 11 at halftime and outscored theBeavers by 21 in the second half. It led Arizona by sevenat halftime and outscored the Wildcats by five afterintermission. It led California by three at halftime andoutscored the Golden Bears by 16 in the final 20 minutes.

On the final regular-season trip, UCLA trailed atCalifornia by 11 points (31-20) at halftime but rallied tooutscore the Golden Bears by 20 (47-27) after halftime(11 in the second half and nine in overtime). UCLAtrailed both Oregon schools at halftime (OSU 32-26 andUO 28-23), but came back with big second half rallies(season high for a half 52 vs. OSU and second-highestseason high for a second half 47 vs. UO). Vs. Oregon,the Bruins shot their best second-half FG% (.625, 15-24)of the season. Prior to the win at Stanford, the Bruinstrailed in five consecutive games at halftime, but cameback with strong second-half efforts (averaged 23.6 infirst half/44.0 in second half).

30 Wins - UCLA has won 31 games this season. It's thesixth time in school history UCLA has won at least 30games and the Bruins won the NCAA title in each of theother five seasons. UCLA won 32 en route to the 1995NCAA title (31 on the court plus one game later won byforfeit) and 30 in 1964, 1967, 1972 and 1973, all NCAAChampionship teams).

INJURY UPDATE (every scholarship player has beeninjured this season/seven players have missed a total of87 games).

Sophomore forward Josh Shipp (missed 33 games/outfor season) - on Sept. 28, had an arthroscopic right hipprocedure. During his initial rehabilitation, he was oncrutches for almost a month (came off of crutches on Oct.26). Shipp returned to the starting to start the Pac-10 season(he missed the first 11 games) and started the first fourleague contests, scoring in double figures(11.3ppg/4.8rpg/29.8mpg) in every game. On Jan. 10,because of constant and increasing pain in the right hip,Shipp announced he would not practice or play for theremainder of the season (UCLA will petition for a medicalhardship waiver at the conclusion of the season).

Sophomore center Lorenzo Mata (missed 16games/returned March 9) - suffered a concussion inpractice on Dec. 1 and did not play on Dec. 4 vs. CoppinState and vs. Nevada on Dec. 10. Since then, he startedseven of eight games (played with a bloody nose/slightfracture at Arizona State, suffered in the first half). Vs.Washington State, suffered a nondisplaced right tibialplateau fracture (he missed 14 games before returning onMarch 9).

Senior center Michael Fey (missed 16 games) - beforethe start of practice (Oct. 14), was diagnosed with a severegroin strain. On Tuesday (Nov. 8), Fey was cleared for aone hour workout (once a day, starting Nov. 9). Feyparticipated in team practice on Saturday (Nov. 12). Heplayed 17 minutes vs. New Mexico State (seven points/tworebounds) and 15 minutes vs. Temple (0 points/tworebounds), but sprained his left shoulder. He did not playvs. Delaware State and his status was 'day-to-day'. In NewYork, Fey played a season-high 21 minutes vs. Memphis(season-high 13 points/four rebounds) and five minutes vs.Drexel. On Thursday (Dec. 1), suffered a right ankle sprainin practice and did not play vs. Coppin State on Dec. 4 andNevada on Dec. 10. He did play two minutes at Michigan.Fey did not play vs. Wagner, came in for nine minutes (twopoints/three rebounds) vs. Sacramento State. Fey missedthe Bruins' first five Pac-10 contests. He did play oneminute vs. Washington and Arizona State, but did not playvs. USC, WVU, Oregon, OSU and Arizona. He played twominutes at WSU, but did not play at Washington or at USC.He started against Oregon State and Oregon and played atCalifornia and Stanford. He's appeared in three of the lastfive games, including four minutes vs. Belmont in theNCAA Tournament.

Cedric Bozeman (missed eight games) - The seniorforward who had started every game before Stanford, onDec. 27 injured his left shoulder in practice (an MRIrevealed torn cartilage). At the time of the injury, Bozemanwas averaging 31.2 minutes, 10.3 points and 4.0 rebounds.He missed eight games. Bozeman was cleared the week ofthe USC and WVU games to resume shooting anddribbling, but did not play. He returned to action at theOregon schools, has played in the last 16 games and startedthe last 15. He suffered a sprained left ankle on the first dayof the Pac-10 Tournament but did not miss any games.

Freshman forward Alfred Aboya (missed six games) -had a right knee arthroscopic procedure on July 11 and hada left knee arthroscopic procedure on Oct. 12. Aboya wasre-evaluated on Nov. 2 and he did not have any basketballactivity for the next two weeks. His first game was CoppinState (Dec. 4 -16 minutes, two rebounds and assists) andhe's appeared in every game since (24). Vs. Washington,Aboya suffered a right knee injury, but an MRI revealed nonew articular cartilage damage and he started both the USCand West Virginia games. Suffered a left hip flexor strain inpractice on Thursday before the USC game, but played 16minutes at the Sports Arena. Reinjured (left hip flexorstrain) in practice on Feb. 21 and was questionable for theOregon schools in Pauley, but played against the Beaversand Oregon.

Senior center Ryan Hollins (missed six games) - strainedhis groin during warm-ups vs. Sacramento State (did notplay) and missed six consecutive games. He has nowplayed in the last 19 games and started 15 of the last 16contests.

Sophomore point guard Jordan Farmar (missed twogames) - suffered a right groin strain in practice onThursday (Oct. 27) and was held out of practice for fivedays (Thursday-Tuesday, the Bruins did not practice onSunday, Oct. 30). After a Nov. 1 examination, Farmar, whohad shown significant improvement, continued tostrengthen and receive treatment. He did not practice orplay the rest of the week and did not play in UCLA'sexhibition game vs. Carleton (Friday, Nov. 4). Farmar wascleared to resume practice on Monday (Nov. 7) and startedvs. CS Monterey Bay. Farmar started the first two NITSeason Tip-Off encounters, but sprained his right ankle vs.Temple and did not play vs. Delaware State. He started vs.Memphis and Drexel. Following an inconclusive early MRIon Tuesday (Nov. 29), another MRI was taken later thatday which showed Farmar did not have a right foot stressfracture. He did not play vs. Albany (Nov. 29), but cameback to start vs. Coppin State (Dec. 4) and responded withhis first career double/double (16 points-then career-high10 assists) and has started every game since Coppin State.

Farmar sprained his right ankle in the second half vs.Stanford (played only four minutes), but came back to startvs. California (36 minutes). Started vs. the Arizona schools- had the ankle retaped in the first half of the Arizona game(hit four consecutive free throws late in the game topreserve UCLA's win) and at ASU, hit two baskets at theend of the contest to win the game for UCLA. Led theBruins in scoring vs. USC (15) and WVU (22) and led theBruins to two wins in Oregon for the first time since 2001.

Vs. Arizona in Pauley Pavilion, he sprained his left ankle inthe second half, got retaped, and played 31 minutes (X-rayson Saturday night revealed no abnormalities and an MRI onMonday confirmed the sprained ankle). He was in awalking boot during the week leading up to the WSUgame. Injured his left wrist in the NCAA second-roundgame against Alabama but X-rays and MRI were negative.

Freshman forward Michael Roll - jammed his rightthumb in practice on Jan. 31 (before Arizona State game)and Feb. 1 X-rays revealed a sprain. He played 15 minutesvs. ASU and 14 vs. Arizona.

Freshman guard Darren Collison - suffered a sprainedleft ankle in the West Virginia game. The X-rays werenegative, he did not practice Monday or Tuesday (beforethe Oregon games), but played at both Oregon (17 minutes)and Oregon State (13 minutes).

Freshman center Ryan Wright - sprained his right anklein the Stanford game (Pauley Pavilion), but continued toplay in the Cardinal contest (22 minutes, five points, fourrebounds) and vs. California (15 minutes, three points). Hehas played in every Pac-10 game and started vs.Washington.

Sophomore guard Arron Afflalo - suffered a leftquadricep contusion on Oct. 29. He was listed as day-today,resumed practice on Nov. 3 and has started everygame. He leads the Bruins in points (17.1/No. 7 in the Pac-10) and minutes (34.3, No. 4 in the Pac-10). At ArizonaState, fell heavily to the floor at the end of the game,suffering a left hip pointer and right backside bruised softtissue. But came back to start vs. the Washington schools inPauley Pavilion. Injured his right wrist in the Elite Eightgame vs. Memphis but X-rays were negative.

Freshman forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute - beforethe start of practice (Oct. 14) was diagnosed with a sprainedright shoulder. He returned to full-time practice status onOct. 22 and has started every game and leads the Bruins inrebounding (8.4, No. 3 in the Pac-10/No. 3 freshmanrebounder in the U. S.).

Redshirt Freshman Walkon Joey Ellis - On Oct. 7, had aleft knee arthroscopic procedure and has not appeared in agame.

NATIONAL POLLS -Entering the NCAA Tournament,UCLA was ranked No. 7 by AP and No. 8 by ESPN/USAToday. Entering the Pac-10 Tournament, the Bruins wereranked No. 13 by AP and No. 12 by ESPN/USA Today.Prior to the Bay Area trip, the Bruins were ranked No. 15by AP and No. 13 by ESPN/USA Today. Prior to theOregon games in Pauley Pavilion, UCLA was rated No. 19by AP and No. 17 by ESPN/USA Today. Prior to the USCgame at the Sports Arena, UCLA was rated No. 15 by APand No. 14 by ESPN/USA Today. Prior to traveling toWashington, the Bruins were rated No. 13 by AP and No.12 by ESPN/USA Today. Prior to hosting the Arizonaschools in Pauley Pavilion, UCLA was rated No. 14 by APand No. 13 by ESPN/USA Today. Before going to theOregon schools, the Bruins were No. 17 by AP andESPN/USA Today. Prior to USC and WVU, the Bruinswere ranked No. 18 by AP and No. 16 by ESPN/USAToday. Before facing the Washington schools in Pauley,UCLA for the second time this season was No. 11 (AP) andNo. 12 (ESPN/USA Today). Traveling to the Arizonaschools, the Bruins were No. 17 in both polls. UCLA wasNo. 11 in both polls (before facing Stanford/California inPauley Pavilion/UCLA's highest regular season rankingsince 2001-02/No. 10-the Bruins that season had apreseason ranking of No. 3). UCLA was No. 12 in bothpolls (before facing Wagner and Sacramento State). TheBruins were No. 14 in both polls going into Michigan. Priorto facing Nevada (Dec. 10) in the Wooden Classic, theBruins were No. 16 (AP) and No. 18 (USA Today/ESPN).The week of Nov. 28, UCLA was No. 16 (AP) and No. 17(USA Today/ESPN). The week of the NIT Season Tip-OffFinal Four (Nov. 21), the Bruins were No. 16 in both polls(UCLA's highest ranking since the start of the 2002-03season/No. 14). UCLA was preseason rated No. 19 by APand tied for No. 18 by USA Today/ESPN (it was theBruins' first preseason rating since 2002-03/No. 14).

THE WOODEN CLASSIC - On Dec. 10 in the 12thannual Wooden Classic at the Arrowhead Pond inAnaheim, No. 16 UCLA defeated No. 17 Nevada, 67-56. Itwas UCLA's third consecutive Wooden Classicappearance, snapped a two-game Bruin losing streak at theClassic, and overall, UCLA is 6-3 in the Wooden Classic. Itwas announced that UCLA and USC will appear in the2006 Wooden Classic (Dec. 9-opponents to be announcedat a later date).

UCLA in the John R. Wooden Classic (6-3)
2005-06(W) -No. 16 UCLA 67, No. 17 Nevada 56.
2004-05(L)-Boston College 74, UCLA 64
2003-04(L)-No. 9 Kentucky 52, UCLA 50
2001-02(W)-No. 20 UCLA 79, No. 16 Alabama 57
2000-01(L)-Georgia Tech 72, UCLA 67
1998-99(W)-No. 18 UCLA 69,No. 11 Okla. St. 66
1997-98(W)-No. 15 UCLA 69,No. 8 New Mex. 58
1995-96(W)-UCLA 73, No. 20 Maryland 63
1994-95(W)-No. 2 UCLA 82, No. 7 Kentucky 81

On Nov. 30, 2002 in Indianapolis, No. 14 UCLA's 84-73loss to No. 4 Duke was the Bruins' only appearance in thethen third-annual Wooden Tradition.

2005 NIT SEASON TIP-OFF TOURNAMENT - For thefirst time since 1996 and for the fourth time in schoolhistory (2005-1996-1992-1987), the Bruins played in theNIT Season Tip-Off and for the second time in schoolhistory, placed third.

At the NIT Season Tip-Off at New York City's MadisonSquare Garden, on Nov. 25 Duke defeated Memphis 70-67 for the championship and in the third-place game, theBruins beat Drexel 57-56. In the semis on Nov. 23, Dukedefeated Drexel 78-68 and Memphis beat UCLA 88-80.The first-round NIT matchups were - Nov. 14 - BostonU. at Duke (D 64-57), Manhattan at Seton Hall (SH 66-52), Sam Houston State at Missouri (SHS 80-77) andDrexel at Princeton (D 54-41); Nov. 15- Miami (Ohio) atAlabama (A 64-58), Wisconsin-Milwaukee at Memphis(M 79-52), Army at Temple (T 69-37) and New MexicoState at UCLA (U 83-70). Second Round results - Nov.16- at Duke 93-Seton Hall 40; Nov. 17 - at Drexel 72-Sam Houston State 61, Memphis 87-at Alabama 76 andat UCLA 54-Temple 47.

In UCLA's preseason NIT history, the Bruins - in 1996,lost in the first round to Tulsa in Pauley Pavilion (77-76,OT); in 1992, lost a semifinal game to Seton Hall 73-64and defeated Florida State 86-83 for third-place and in1987, lost a second round contest at New Mexico 77-66.

UCLA REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE - In thePreseason AP poll, the Bruins will face five teams on thisyear's schedule - No. 9 Arizona, No. 12 Memphis, No.13 Stanford, No. 15 West Virginia and No. 25 Nevada.UCLA's 2005-06 men's basketball schedule will featurenine teams that advanced to postseason play last season(NCAA/NIT) and the Bruins will also participate in theNIT Season Tip-Off and Wooden Classic. Teams fromlast year's NCAA include - Mid-Eastern AthleticConference Delaware State (Saturday, Nov. 19 in PauleyPavilion, 7:30 p.m.), Western Athletic ConferenceNevada in the Wooden Classic (Saturday, Dec. 10 inAnaheim, 2:30 p.m./KCAL), Big East West Virginia(Saturday, Jan. 12 in Pauley Pavilion, 12:45 p.m.,CBS/the Mountaineers in the 2005 NCAA advanced tothe Albuquerque Regional final, losing to Louisville 93-85OT) and Pac-10 foes Washington, Arizona andStanford. Also in 2005, conference opponents OregonState and Arizona State participated in the NIT, as didMemphis. For the fourth consecutive season, UCLA willplay Big 10 Michigan (Dec. 17 in Ann Arbor, 9 a.m.PT/ESPN) -UCLA leads the series 9-3 and has won thelast two games, 68-61 on Dec. 17 and last season,defeating the Wolverines in Pauley 81-79.

PAC-10 MEDIA DAY-BRUINS SELECTED THIRDIN PRESEASON VOTE - Nov. 3 was Pac-10 Media Dayat the LAX Hilton. According to a poll of media memberswho cover Pac-10 men's basketball, Arizona was picked towin the 2006 conference title.

Here's the vote total -1. Arizona (23) 325, 2. Stanford(9) 294, 3. UCLA 263 (2), 4. Washington 238, 5.California 212, 6. Oregon 183, 7. Oregon State 132, 8.USC 87, 9. Washington State 86, 10. Arizona State 50.PRESEASON HONORS- Here's a list of the Bruinpreseason team and individual honors.

-Athlon - Team - Postseason Prediction, NCAA 'Sweet16'/3rd in Pac-10; No. 2 recruiting class in Pac-10.Individual -Jordan Farmar - Honorable Mention All-America/1st-team All-Pac-10; Arron Afflalo - 3rd-team All-Pac-10.

-Blue Ribbon - Team - No. 21 in the U. S./3rd in the Pac-10; No. 2 Top Backcourt in Pac-10. Individual - JordanFarmar- All-Conference Team. - Team - No. 16 in the U. S./3rd in thePac-10. Individual - Jordan Farmar - 1st-team All-Pac-10.

-Lindy's - Team - No. 25 in U. S./3rd in Pac-10; No. 6backcourt in the nation; No. 18 recruiting class in thenation. Individual - Jordan Farmar - No. 11 point guardin the U. S. /second-team All-Pac-10.

-Slam Magazine - Team - No. 18 in U. S.

-Sports Illustrated - Team - No. 15 in the U. S.

-Street & Smith's - Team - No. 16 in the U. S. /3rd in Pac-10; No. 3 recruiting class in Pac-10. Individual - AlfredAboya - Top 100 college freshmen, Ryan Wright -Impact Rookie.

-The Sporting News - Team - No. 17 in U. S. /3rd in Pac-10; No. 5 backcourt in U. S.; No. 3 recruiting class inPac-10. Individual - Jordan Farmar - No. 4 point guardin U. S. /first-team All-Pac-10; Arron Afflalo - No. 13shooting guard in the U .S./second-team All-Pac-10;Ryan Wright - No. 5 Pac-10 recruit; Alfred Aboya - No.8 Pac-10 recruit; Darren Collison -No. 12 Pac-10 recruit.

-Dick Vitale's Top 25 - Team - No. 20 in the U. S.

JamesKeefe, a 6-8, 220-pound forward from SantaMargarita Catholic HS (Rancho Santa Margarita), onFeb. 23 was named a McDonald's All-American. TheMcDonald's game will be March 29 at San DiegoState's Cox Arena. He's the 26th McDonald's All-American to attend UCLA and the third recruited tothe Bruins under UCLA head coach Ben Howland(joining 2004 McDonald's All-Americans - JordanFarmar and Arron Afflalo).

Considered one of the nation's top-rated power forwardsentering his senior high school season, Keefe has signeda National Letter of Intent to attend UCLA, Bruin headcoach Ben Howland announced Nov. 9. Wednesday isthe first day of the early signing period that extends untilNov. 16.

Under head coach Jerry DeBusk, Keefe led the Eaglesin March to a second consecutive CIF Southern SectionDiv. III-AA Championship (28-5 overall), averaging17.0 points, 12.3 rebounds and 3.7 blocked shots. SantaMargarita Catholic HS advanced to the second round ofthe CIF Southern California Regionals (Div. III) as Keefeearned State Junior Player of the Year honors and wasfirst-team All-Serra League.

'I'm elated that James is joining our program,' saidHowland. 'He's an outstanding player, a great personand an excellent student. James plays hard, is anoutstanding rebounder, a good defender and plays veryintelligently. His attitude and work ethic are going tohelp him improve and get better and better year-in andyear-out'

A recent first-team Long Beach Press-Telegram Bestin the West Selection, Keefe is rated the No. 27 highschool player in the nation by Bob Gibbons' All-StarSports Top 100.

Entering 2005-06, his other preseason prep honorsinclude - Street & Smith All-American (second team),The Sporting News' No. 36 player in the U. S., No. 37 player in the U. S. (No. 11 powerforward in the U. S.) and Athlon Sports No. 38 player inthe U. S.

Last summer, Keefe participated in the Gibbons'Memorial Weekend Tournament, playing for the titlewinningSouthern California All-Stars. He also played inthe adidas All-America Camp in Suwanee, GA and withhis high school team in the Reebok Las Vegas Big TimeTournament (an all-tourney choice) in July.

'Keefe puts as much energy and focus into hisperformance while screening for teammates and playingdefense, as he does when the ball is in his possession,'said Frank Burlison, national basketball columnist, long-time sportswriter for the Long BeachPress-Telegram and a member of the USBWA Hall ofFame. 'He'll need to make fewer adjustments, especiallyon defense, than almost any other player in the class to bean immediate contributor in college. Keefe has beenextremely well-coached by Jerry DeBusk and shouldmake an immediate impact with the Bruins, perhaps evenas a starter at some point during his freshman season.'Marko Spica, a 6-9, 225-pound post player from Belgrade,Serbia and Montenegro, has signed a National Letter ofIntent to play basketball at UCLA, Bruin head coach BenHowland announced Tuesday. Spica will be an incomingfreshman for the 2006-07 school year.

From the High School of Sport in Belgrade andconsidered one of the top young post players in Europe,Spica, since the age of 13, has been a member of theBeovuk Club. Within his club team, Spica for two years hasbeen playing on his country's Junior squad, averaging 11.0points and 7.0 rebounds. Prior to that, for three seasons onthe Youth team, he averaged 17.0 points and 9.0 rebounds.'Marko is a skilled post player,' Howland said. 'Hecan score down low. He can step out and shoot. Herebounds, he blocks out and he plays physical. Marko andJames Keefe give us two talented inside players for nextseason.'

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