Sometimes guys can be tough on each other - especially good friends.
Going bald? You've probably already heard it from your oldest friends. Wearing an ugly shirt is a sure-fire way to be on the receiving end of some trash talk from buddies. But Tyler Lamb was quick to deny giving teammate Josh Smith a hard time about putting on some extra weight during this past offseason.
"No, no, no, I'm not making Josh mad," Lamb said when asked if he or his teammates called him fat when he returned to campus this fall weighing well over 300 pounds.
Coach Ben Howland and the training staff have been working with Smith, whose improved conditioning during the course of the season has the Bruins believing he can continue to progress and cause problems for the opposition.
"So much attention from defense, the other guys," David Wear said about playing with an effective Smith. "He definitely opens a lot of guys on our team to get the ball in scoring opportunities."
Wear and Smith paired up for one of the most impressive offensive sets in the Bruins 75-58 win over Arizona State when they executed a textbook give-and-go for an easy bucket.
"I saw he was in the post and had his man sealed," Wear said. "I called for (the ball), gave him the ball and acted like I was going to go screen away and cut down the middle. I saw my man go to double and yeah, it was just a wide-open play."
Lamb used the phrase "commands attention" when explaining the impact Smith has on the Bruins offense. If he has that sort of presence for the Bruins on Sunday night, it could be another runaway victory.
"I hope he continues to take off from where he was (against ASU)," Howland said.
- Ben Howland is right - every game is a "must win" now: Howland used this very phrase with reporters earlier this week. He knows the Bruins need to win the Pac-12 Conference to assure a spot in the NCAA Tournament and now it's crunch time. They've passed the halfway point on the regular season and the Pac-12 won't be overloaded with at-large bids. Beating a 5-12 USC team that is winless in its first four Pac-12 games is most definitely a must-win.
- Keep going inside - early and often: Lazeric Jones might be the Bruins leading scorer and most dangerous offensive player - it's why Howland's decision to play him more on the wing is such a good one. But that doesn't mean UCLA shouldn't make Travis and David Wear and Josh Smith the focal points of the offense. Wear teams down and pound them with the size advantage. It should open things up for Jones and the rest of the perimeter players, which leads to our last statement.
- UCLA needs to make more 3-pointers to keep winning: The Bruins are averaging .345 as a team from behind the arc, good for 10th in the Pac-12, which isn't so good. The Bruins need to make more, preferably at a 40 percent clip, to keep winning.