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UCLA basketball: Bruins remained unranked in national polls

March 7, 2011 | 10:42 am

UCLA remained unranked in both national basketball polls Monday, but the Bruins could be on the rise in a more meaningful way.

Ucla-logo_250 Joe Lunardi, ESPN's famed "bracketologist," has upgraded UCLA to a No. 7 seed in his most recent NCAA tournament projection, meaning the Bruins could avoid a second-round game against a top-seeded team. Lunardi currently has UCLA playing No. 10-seeded St. Mary's in an East Regional first-round game in Chicago. If that projection holds up, the winner of that game would play the winner of second-seeded Notre Dame vs. No. 15-seeded Milwaukee.

UCLA (22-9) received 40 points in the Associated Press poll in the wake of its weekend split against Washington and Washington State, well behind No. 25 Cincinnati's 202 points. The Bruins also trailed unranked Texas A&M (177), Vanderbilt (101) and free-falling Villanova (64), which has lost four consecutive games.

In the USA Today/ESPN coaches poll, UCLA received 36 points, less than half of No. 25 Temple's 77. Unranked West Virginia (64) and Villanova (43) also tallied more points than the Bruins.

UCLA will open the Pacific Life Pac-10 tournament at 6:10 p.m. Thursday at Staples Center against the winner of the first-round game between No. 7 seed Oregon and No. 10 seed Arizona State. The Ducks and Sun Devils play at 8:40 p.m. Wednesday.

-- Ben Bolch