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UCLA REPORT

Now Vitale Has Lavin on Defensive

November 29, 2000|BILL SHAIKIN

The loudest voice in the chorus of Bruin detractors has spoken up. In a column on the ESPN Web site, high-decibel national analyst Dick Vitale criticized UCLA Coach Steve Lavin for citing the Bruins' loss to Cal State Northridge last week as just another example of upsets becoming increasingly common in college basketball.

"Any way you cut it--and I read that Steve Lavin talked about Wright State beating Michigan State (talk about rationalizing a loss!)--there is no way UCLA should lose to the Matadors at Pauley Pavilion," Vitale wrote.

Lavin said Tuesday he was not rationalizing the loss but putting it in perspective. If Michigan State won the NCAA championship last season despite the loss to Wright State, Lavin said, why should his players abandon hope in a year when Central Michigan beat Purdue and Oakland (Mich.) beat Michigan?

"You never want to lose," Lavin said, "but you have to be able to put it in context for your players. The good thing about basketball is, one [regular-season] game does not destroy your season."

TONIGHT

vs. UC Santa Barbara, 7:30

Fox Sports Net 2

* Site--Pauley Pavilion.

* Radio--KXTA (1150).

* Records--UCLA 1-2, UC Santa Barbara 0-3.

* Update--The alumni wolves howled after the Bruins lost to Cal State Northridge last week, but the howling will be deafening if UCLA loses this game. The Bruins are 17-0 against UC Santa Barbara, who play in the Big West. The Gauchos are 0-3 this season, losing to Pepperdine, San Francisco and Brigham Young. The Gauchos also are without arguably their best post player (Adama Ndiaye, broken finger) and best guard (Branduinn Fullove, sprained ankle) and could be without guard Nick Jones (sprained ankle). Forward Mark Hull averages 16 points, the only Gaucho in double figures.

* Tickets--(310) 825-2946.

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