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UCLA basketball: Bruins seek postcard-perfect win over No. 14 Kansas

November 22, 2011 |  6:17 pm

Lahaina view
A victory over Chaminade was nice, but it doesn't answer any of the nagging questions about UCLA's 0-for-the-Division-I-mid-majors start.

Are the Bruins' guards capable of hanging with counterparts from the nation's top teams?

Can big men Joshua Smith and Reeves Nelson become the dominant forces they were expected to be?

Will UCLA get a signature victory or put itself at risk of another start like it had two years ago, when it lost six of its first eight games?

The answers could come soon during the Bruins' game against No. 14 Kansas in a Maui Invitational semifinal at the Lahaina Civic Center. UCLA came out on the wrong end of a controversial call in the final second of the Jayhawks' 77-76 victory last season in Lawrence, Kan., but the Bruins still lead the all-time series, 10-6.

These are two of the most storied programs in college basketball history. Kansas is No. 2 on the all-time victory list with 2,040 and UCLA is No. 8 with 1,710. They also rank in the top 10 all-time in NCAA tournament appearances (UCLA 42, Kansas 40); NCAA tournament victories (UCLA 96, Kansas 88); and NCAA tournament games played (UCLA 131, Kansas 127).

When it comes to the size of the team's respective media contingents in Maui, Kansas is winning in a rout. The Jayhawks have eight writers and photographers covering the team here and the Bruins only two. We've heard rumors of mild interest in Kansas basketball back in Lawrence.

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-- Ben Bolch

Photo: A view of the Pacific Ocean from the parking lot of the Lahaina Civic Center on Tuesday afternoon. Credit: Ben Bolch / Los Angeles Times

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