On razor-thin margins of one point in January and fivethis time, the Bruins
hold first place in the Pac-10 by 1 1/2 games.
(20-2, 9-2 Pac-10) lead USC (18-6, 8-3) by a game in the conference standings, which puts a different slant on the upcoming rivalry rematch.
A tent village of vigilant Bruins
arose each night in Bruin
Plaza to protect UCLA's mascot.
had trouble in the opening minutes on the boards, getting decimated as the Yellow Jackets had the first eight rebounds of the game, including five on the offensive end.
But a much tougher test comes today when the Bruins
(2-0) meet the 20th- ranked Wildcats (3-0), and with that comes the chore of slowing down the 6-foot-11 Morris.
coach Karl Dorrell already said sophomore Kyle Bosworth will make his first career start in place of Taylor, whose availability is a game-time decision.
Shedding the label of the tough-nosed, grind-it-out Bruisin's for at least a game, the Bruins
scored in transition and had a flurry of dunks.
And if the Bruins
mix their usual superb defense with another offensive moment like in their final game of the season, perhaps a 12th national championship banner will hang from Pauley Pavilion's rafters next season.
All a potential opponent needs to do is look at how USC - an average team, at best - defeated the 15th-ranked Bruins
71-68 in front of 9,009 Sunday at the Sports Arena, surviving a late surge as UCLA lost back- to-back games for the first time this season.
UCLA handled Leon Powe pretty much the way it hoped to on defense, as the Bruins
held Powe, Cal's leading scorer this season, to one field goal and 5 points Saturday afternoon.
For most of Wednesday's game against Wagner College, it seemed like the Bruins
assumed the Seahawks would just crumble at the thought of playing on UCLA's fabled home court.
USC student Jason Junge will enter the fray dangling a UCLA Bruins
bear mascot swinging from a hangman's noose.
Until a few days ago, the Bruins
might have thought their defining moment had already happened.
7 UCLA's brutal 52-14 loss to Arizona on Saturday could drop the Bruins
from BCS contention to the Sun Bowl, regardless of whether the Bruins
upset USC on Dec.
PASADENA - At the high point of the party, the Bruins
probably got a phone call from their college football neighbors Saturday night.