Jim Mora has had his team focused on taking the next step as a program but the UCLA Bruins have hit a rough stretch. After losing a physical contest in Palo Alto to the Stanford Cardinal, the Bruins had another tough road trip against the Oregon Ducks in Eugene this week. While UCLA hung with the Ducks for the first half, Oregon eventually pulled away handing UCLA their second straight loss. More importantly for the Bruins, it pushed them out of first place in the Pac 12 South division.
Now at 2-2 in conference play, UCLA finds itself tied with the Arizona Wildcats and USC Trojans for second place in the Pac 12 South behind the Arizona State Sun Devils at 3-1 in conference play. The Bruins find themselves chasing for the first time this season as they attempt to get back to the conference title game for a third straight season. The road back to a division title is now tough, though the Bruins still control their own destiny down the stretch.
UCLA gets a chance to play the Colorado Buffaloes in their next game to get back on track before a road game against Arizona, who has been looking dangerous with the play of Ka’Deem Carey. Then they play the Washington Huskies who are a better team then their recent three-game losing streak would indicate. After that it’s a showdown with ASU before their regular season finale against rival USC in the Coliseum.
It’s a difficult stretch to be sure and it will test the mental toughness of this young UCLA roster. They can’t afford to lose another game down the stretch or risk falling out of the race for another shot at a conference championship. Can Mora rally his troops and get them back to the top of the Pac 12 South?