I’m not the biggest fan of preseason polls or polls in general — especially when they come out during the season. I also don’t really like power rankings either — but that’s another story for another day. The Associated Press released its preseason Top 25 poll for men’s basketball on Monday.
It’s no surprise to me that UCLA was going to be in the Top 25 to start the season. They had a strong 2020 recruiting class and have a fabulous freshman in Lonzo Ball who may turn the coaching tenure of Steve Alford around in Westwood.
Ball is a 6-6 stud coming out of Chino Hills. He was rated in the Top 10 nationally by ESPN, Rivals and Scout coming into the season and was named the 2016 CIF Southern Section Open Division Player of the Year. Scout also rated him as the No. 1 point guard in California as well as the entire western region.
Ball is definitely considered an NBA talent and could quite possibly put the Bruins back on the college basketball map for the first time in what feels like a very long time.
Questions surrounded Alford’s future with UCLA at the end of last season when they finished 15-17, only winning six conference games and bowing out of the Pac-12 tournament with a 20-plus-point loss to none other than USC. Not a good look.
This year could be different. Expectations are high and if Alford doesn’t deliver, then he will most likely be gone at the end of the season despite bringing in a highly-regarded talent like Ball. UCLA could be fun to watch again, but they cannot afford to lose any of their first four home games to start the year.
The Bruins open up their regular season on Nov. 11 with a game against Pacific at Pauley Pavilion.
Image via Fox Sports Australia