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UCLA basketball: Bruins to start season with poll position

October 20, 2011 |  1:41 pm

UclaWith more than three weeks before its season opener, the UCLA men's basketball team has already accomplished something it didn't last season: The Bruins are ranked in the first ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll.

UCLA checked in at No. 20, one of three Pacific 12 Conference schools ranked. Arizona is No. 16 and California is No. 24. The Associated Press has not released its first poll.

The Bruins were not ranked in either poll last season, even during a late-season stretch in which they won 12 of 14 games.

UCLA is scheduled to be one of five ranked teams participating in the Maui Invitational Nov. 21-23. The others are No. 6 Duke, No. 9 Memphis, No. 13 Kansas and No. 18 Michigan. Georgetown, Tennessee and Chaminade, a Division II school, complete the field.

UCLA is to open the tournament against Chaminade on Nov. 21. If the Bruins don't win at least two games in the three days, they can say "aloha" to the rankings.

ALSO:

For UCLA, beating Arizona could lead to a big payoff

UCLA faces an Arizona team in transition

T.J. Simers: Rick Neuheisel still has a chance to keep his job

-- Ben Bolch

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