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COLLEGE BASKETBALL DAILY REPORT / UCLA

Return to the Top 25 Is Expected

February 12, 2001|SAM FARMER

They didn't collect many style points with their hanging-on-for-dear-life victory over DePaul, but the Bruins do expect to emerge from the weekend ranked in the top 25 for the first time since November.

"I think we'll be ranked after this," point guard Earl Watson said. "I'm not sure how high, or what number, but we should be ranked. If we don't get ranked after this week, then we probably won't be ranked when we win the Pac-10, or for the rest of the year."

In their past three games--all on the road--the Bruins have toppled No. 1 Stanford, No. 22 USC and DePaul, a preseason top-25 team that clearly has fallen on hard times.

Even though the 11-12 Blue Demons are nothing special, UCLA had a tough turnaround in playing at USC on Thursday, then catching a red-eye flight to Chicago after the game.

"What we do, because we play Thursdays and Saturdays in the Pac-10, is we're always trying to simulate as if each weekend is a dress rehearsal for the NCAA tournament," Bruin Coach Steve Lavin said.

"We acted as though [the DePaul game] was a Midwest regional and it was a second-round game. And I think DePaul, athletically in terms of quickness, really resembles the type of team you'll face in the second round. Even though they've struggled this year in terms of won-lost record, they definitely have the type of personnel that we'll face if we're fortunate enough to make the tournament and play in a second-round game."

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