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UCLA basketball falls to lowest ranking this season

February 16, 2009 |  1:43 pm

Ben Howland during Saturday's game. It's no surprise that two losses to the Arizona schools sent UCLA sliding down the polls, but the Bruins slipped far enough that another misstep could drop them out of the Associated Press Top 25 for the first time since 2005.

Going from No. 11 to No. 20, they hit a low point since beginning at No. 4 in the preseason. They also had the biggest tumble of any team in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll this week, from No. 6 to No. 15.

The numbers look just as discouraging in the Pacific 10 Conference standings, where UCLA went from first place to a tie for third. The going doesn't get any easier with 22nd-ranked Washington coming to Pauley Pavilion on Thursday night, a matchup that Coach Ben Howland classified as his team's biggest game of the year. The Huskies defeated UCLA by 11 points in Seattle last month.

"We've got to get back to the drawing board and just be better," Howland said.

-- David Wharton

Photo: UCLA head coach Ben Howland yells at his team in the second half against the Arizona Wildcats on Saturday. Credit: Chris Morrison / US Presswire