WESTWOOD—A week ago, the sky was falling.
Having lost five consecutive games by a combined score of 359-263, UCLA had strung together one of their worst months of basketball in recent memory.
A week later, the Bruins are on a winning streak.
After winning a double overtime thriller against Stanford and dominating Cal Berkeley in consecutive home victories, there exists the slightest present of a heartbeat in Westwood.
After weeks of offensive ineptitude, the Bruins are beginning to hammer opponents inside, a movement catalyzed by the recent play of big man Tony Parker.
Over the past two games, the oft-criticized junior has played like every bit of the 6 foot 9 inch, 260-pound frame, asserting his authority in the paint on both sides of the ball.
Having totaled 35 points and 20 rebounds against Stanford and Berkeley, UCLA will look to keep Parker going when they travel across town tomorrow to play rival USC.
While a victory over the Trojans (9-7) will do little to boost public opinion that the Bruins are legitimate contenders, another dominant victory over a hated rival will certainly boost the moral of a talented, but wildly underachieving team.
A victory on Wednesday will also give the Bruins a winning conference record, healing some of the wounds inflicted by their early season skid.
But first, we’ll see what the week ahead brings.