Comparative scores are always fun, huh? Using the only common opponent for UCLA and UC Irvine (Irvine over Pennsylvania by 24 points, 90-66, and UCLA over Pennsylvania by 49 points, 98-49), it seems that UCLA should be about 25 points better than UC Irvine when the teams play tonight at 7:30 in Pauley Pavilion.
Not necessarily so, according to Penn Coach Tom Schneider, who explained that his team had played pretty well at Irvine and had a real off night against the Bruins.
UCLA Coach Walt Hazzard isn't expecting a 25-point game, either.
"This is going to be a real tough game for us," Hazzard said. "They're averaging about 90 a game. They have guys who can pull up and shoot the three-point with no hesitation.
"They play an up-tempo, and they have a lot of guys who have the green light."
Wayne Engelstad, a 6-foot 8-inch senior from Bosco Tech in Rosemead, is the leading scorer for Irvine. He is averaging 20.3 points a game. The only other returning starter is Kevin Floyd, a 6-5 junior forward from Westchester High. Floyd went to Georgetown his freshman season but then transferred to Irvine.
UCLA will try to match Irvine's front line with three sophomore starters who, according to Hazzard, are making progress.
Hazzard is sticking with the lineup change that he made last week, putting sophomore Kevin Walker at forward in place of junior Charles Rochelin.
"Charles is helping us off the bench, and I expect him to continue to help us like that," Hazzard said.
Playing a young front line, along with veteran guards Pooh Richardson (a junior) and Dave Immel (a senior), has caused some problems early in this season as the Bruins have tried to come together. UCLA lost four straight before rolling over Penn Monday night. And Hazzard is not sure that one victory indicates that all is well.
"When you lose four in a row, your confidence is shot," Hazzard said. "Even the coach is not really sure he's doing the right things. Lose three in a row at home and you start to wonder. We saw some good things in the game against Penn, but we need another success to keep us going."
It also would send the Bruins into the Pac-10 schedule on a winning note. Tonight's game is the last game before the Bruins open conference play at Cal and at Stanford next week.
One good sign in the victory over Penn, Hazzard said, was the unselfishness that was starting to show on offense.
"We were starting to pass the ball to the best people to take the shot," he said. "I'd like to see that continue."
But that's another characteristic that should come with time.
The last time UCLA played Irvine, the Anteaters came out on top, 80-74. That was in the first round of the 1986 NIT tournament. Recalling that game, Hazzard said, "Back then, we were a little short on talent. Now we have the talent, but we're a little short on experience."
Irvine enters tonight's game with a record of 5-2. UCLA is 2-5.
There will be no telecast of tonight's game at Pauley Pavilion, but it will be broadcast by KMPC (710). . . . Irvine was the runner-up in the Hawkeye Classic, beating Jacksonville but losing big to Iowa (124-88) in the final. Irvine's Wayne Engelstad was named to that all-tournament team. . . . Irvine's only other loss this season was to Pepperdine, 91-89. . . . UCLA has five players averaging in double figures (Trevor Wilson 15.7, Pooh Richardson 12.8, Dave Immel 12.3, Kevin Walker 12.0 and Greg Foster 11.0). . . . Last season Irvine had a record of 14-14 overall and finished fourth in the PCAA with a record of 9-9 . . . On Immel, who has had back-to-back subpar games, UCLA Coach Walt Hazzard said, "Dave will smooth all that out . . . Dave will emerge as one of our leaders in all areas."