Jan. 10, 2012
As the student body flocks back to campus this week for the beginning of winter quarter, many of our teams, including both of the tennis squads as well as gymnastics and men's volleyball, are just starting their schedules. Others, among them women's swimming and diving and men's and women's basketball, are well underway. The basketball teams will face their cross-town rivals this week, which, when combined with the activity of our other teams, will make for some interesting matchups all around. Let's take a look:
Men's Basketball Looks to Continue Conference Streak
After sweeping the Arizona schools last week at the Honda Center to even their Pac-12 Conference record at 2-2, Ben Howland and his squad will now make the 13-mile trek across town to face USC at the Galen Center next Sunday evening. It will be the Bruins' only game of the weekend and the first on the road since opening the season in the Bay Area - road victories will be the key to a successful conference season, and we will be seeking our first of the season.
The win over Arizona State on Saturday night was the last of our four wins in as many games at the Honda Center this year. With no more Bruin Road Show stops there this year, I wanted to take a minute and thank the management and staff of that wonderful arena for truly rolling out the red carpet for us and making us feel welcome and at home, despite the distance from that venue to our campus.
A Word about the Wooden Classic
As I mentioned in last week's blog, the Thursday night game against Arizona last week was not only a Pac-12 Conference game, but also doubled as the Wooden Classic. Due to some unique circumstances particular to this season, the Wooden Classic and a conference game were combined into one. You can be assured that the Wooden Classic will not feature a conference match-up in the future.
We are presently working diligently with the new owner of the Wooden Classic and the Wooden Family representatives at IMG to develop a model for future Classic games. The Pac-12 will also be involved since game broadcast rights for all conference schools fall under its auspices. I will provide you with an update as things progress over the coming months ...
Women's Basketball Hosts USC
Opposite their counterparts on the men's side, Coach Cori Close and the women's basketball team will host rival USC this coming weekend at the Wooden Center. When they take to the floor Saturday afternoon at 2 pm against the Women of Troy, they will be looking to build upon the momentum gained in a 64-48 win against Arizona State last Saturday in Tempe.
I watched our game against Arizona State on TV prior to leaving my house for the men's game in Anaheim. I was extremely pleased to see the hustle and heart that the Bruins, playing with a depleted roster due to a rash of injuries, displayed that afternoon and am looking forward to getting to see them in person again Saturday in front of what should be a loud, sell-out crowd at the Wooden Center. If you weren't able to secure a ticket in advance, you can watch the game online at uclabruins.com or head over to Ackerman Union, where they will be streaming the game on the big screen TV at the Cooperage.
Olympic Sports Report
The top-ranked women's gymnastics team opened their season with a squeaker of a 196.075-196.025 victory over a very strong Utah squad Sunday afternoon at the Wooden Center and will face another Pac-12 opponent next Sunday when they travel to Berkeley to meet Cal. I enjoyed seeing so many of you at the sold-out meet in the Wooden Center. Thank you to those of you who came early to beat the rush ... The men's volleyball team took two of its three matches last weekend and finished second in the UCSB/asics Invitational; up next for them is a trip to Hawaii to compete in this week's Outrigger Hotels Invitational against some strong opponents ... Following victories for each of them in separate competitions at home last week, the swimming and diving teams will split up again this week, with the divers off to Palo Alto and the swimmers splitting up for meets in Corvallis and Salt Lake City ... Both the men's and women's tennis teams return to action as well, with each of them participating in tournaments over the weekend.
Ask Dan Question of the Week
Q: Dan, can you give us a status on the Pauley Pavilion project? More importantly, will there be an opportunity for Bruin fans to tour the new arena this summer or prior to the first sporting event in Pauley?
A: Keith, thank you for the question, it is certainly a timely one.
As it presently stands, new Pauley is still very much a construction site and will remain in that state until we receive the keys to the building from the contractor later this year. An exact date for this has yet to be determined, but the good news is that we are very much on schedule.
Once we receive the keys to the building, there will still be a need for some "finishing touches" on the inside of the building from our staff, especially from a technology standpoint, before we open the doors to the public.
That said, we have anticipated, and indeed planned for "open houses" aimed at various groups, including, of course, the numerous UCLA athletic teams that will call the building home, our donors, and the general public before the first official sporting event there. As soon as we get more details regarding the timing of all of this, we will be sure to share it with all of you so that you can make plans to see our new home.
Thank you all for your submissions - please know that each question submitted was read, and please don't forget to submit a question to firstname.lastname@example.org this week.
Director of Athletics, UCLA