clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The Fearsome Threesome, Epsiode 14: Bears Down, TJ Leaf Hurt

Well, It’s been an up and down week for the Bruins.

NCAA Basketball: Washington at UCLA Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a rollercoaster week for the UCLA Men’s Basketball team.

The peak came in the form of a 77-72 victory in the McKale Center against the Pac-12 leader Arizona Wildcats. The game was the Bruins most complete team victory with no one scoring over 15 points in the game. Their defense was the best it has been all season. The only player that did any significant damage to the Bruins was Allonzo Trier with 28 points. Bryce Alford and Thomas Welsh led the team in scoring with 15 and 14 respectively. With the win the Bruins aligned themselves nicely to possibly secure a one-seed in the NCAA Tournament. With the Pac-12 tournament coming they have a chance to beat Arizona and Oregon again and boost their resume. And, with Gonzaga losing their first game of the season, a Pac-12 tournament championship can go a long way in March.

Things would begin to go downward for the Bruins during their game against the Washington Huskies. The Huskies would come into the game without future top three pick Markelle Fultz which, all but assured the Bruins of the victory. As the Bruins cruised through the game star forward TJ Leaf would land awkwardly on his ankle and limp away to the locker room. Admittedly, I was terrified watching the injury because it looked bad and extremely painful. That cloud would hang over the Bruins dominant 98-66 win but their would be some good news after the game. Coach Steve Alford told the media that Leaf only had a sprained ankle and it had no bone damage. For precautionary reasons Leaf will probably be in a walking boot and miss some time. My guess, he will be out two weeks and probably miss the Pac-12 tournament. But Coach Alford told the media that he will be reevaluated within the next 48 hours.

The Pac-12 tournament begins March 8th and the first round bye for the Bruins is assured and they will play the winner of the six and 11 seeds. With one game remaining in the regular season, the six and 11 seeds would be USC and Washington. As much as I respect Fultz’s talent, Washington as a team is garbage and If I was Fultz, I wouldn’t play for the rest of the season. This would set up a rubber match against USC to determine who the basketball kings of Los Angeles really are. And if UCLA is successful in this game, they will probably play the two seed which, as of now seems to be Oregon by way of head-to-head matchup against Arizona. UCLA earning the two seed is not a bad thing. If UCLA is put as the second seed in the West Bracket, they could be in line to face Gonzaga as a one seed who is arguably the weakest of the one seeds.

The Bruins have everything to play for still and the next two weeks will be pivotal for their success in March. And once the walking boots are off, the Bruins will be off and running into March madness