UCLA travels to USC on Saturday in men's basketball
January 25, 2024
Although both teams are near the bottom of the Pac-12 men's basketball standings it's still UCLA against USC which makes it a big game in Los Angeles. The Bruins are 8-11 overall and 3-5 in the Pac-12 and that record puts them in eighth place. The Trojans are 8-11 overall and 2-6 in the Pac-12 which is good enough for 11th place in the 12-team league. The Bruins travel to play the Trojans on Saturday at 5 p.m. on ESPN2.
What happened to both teams? Injuries, bad recruiting, young players, you name it, all of these things came crumbling down on both teams. Injuries derailed the Trojans and young players, and bad recruiting has hurt the Bruins.
UCLA missed out on local talent, so they decided to recruit overseas. They went to France, Turkey, Spain, Slovenia and Serbia to recruit players. They gambled and lost. The season is not over but right now the future is not bright.
When you miss out on top tier local and national talent sometimes you need to recruit level three American players and develop those players. Those players have played against top tier high school players, so they know what to expect at the next level. Hopefully the Bruins can regroup and make a run during the second half of the season. If not maybe Mick Cronin and his staff can work this summer and develop their existing talent.
The Trojans season started to fall apart in the summer when one of their top recruits, Bronny James had a heart attack during a summer workout at the school. Although James was not their top recruit it still put a dent in their plans for the season. After that episode the injuries started to pile up.
Their No. 1 recruit, Isaiah Collier suffered a hand injury a few weeks ago and their best player, Boogie Ellis is out with a led injury he suffered a few weeks ago. Ellis and Collier were the starting guards, and they were developing into one of the best back courts in the nation. Now they have to rely on Kobe Johnson and James to take up the slack for the injured players.
The good news for the both schools is for the first time in history both schools have highly ranked women's basketball teams. USC had top 10 teams in the 1980's and UCLA has had some good teams in the past but not at the same time as USC like this year. UCLA is currently ranked No. 2 with a record of 15-2 and USC is No. 11 with a record of 13-3.
USC has one of the best players in the nation in JuJu Watkins from Los Angeles. Watkins is averaging 26.1 points per game. She is followed by McKenzie Forbes at 13.3 points per game and Rayah Marshall at 11.2 points per game. UCLA is led by Kiki Rice, Londynn Jones and Charisma Osborne.