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Bruins promise they'll improve

This just in: The Pac-10 stinks.

(pause for effect)

Jeff Chiu/AP
It hasn't been an easy season for Reeves Nelson and UCLA.

Yeah, that topic's old hat by now. Plus, schools like Arizona State and Cal are doing their best to give the conference a little self respect. But it's tough when even former UCLA coach Steve Lavin doesn't think much of the Pac-10.

"I've always prided myself on being an advocate for West Coast basketball, so it pains me to be honest about the awful state of the conference this year," he told the Wall Street Journal. "You'd like to build an argument, but I don't think a legal team with F. Lee Bailey, Robert Shapiro and Johnnie Cochran could build a case for them."

Then again, Lavin's old team – perhaps the embodiment of the Pac-10's issues – swears it's going to turn things around. Starting now. That's what Bruins senior Michael Roll said after getting drilled by crosstown rival USC.

Yet Roll isn't sure their record will follow suit. From the L.A. Times.

"We are definitely going to be a lot better from here on out," Roll said.

And he can guarantee that?

"I cannot," Roll said. "All I can say is it's not going to be like that anymore."

You have to admire Roll's honesty. When Washington comes to L.A. on Thursday, he and the rest of the Bruins may be playing harder and it may finally bring results the UCLA faithful are used to seeing.

But I wouldn't hold my breath.

UCLA's defense is a far cry from its Final Four run under Ben Howland, and the offense is the most inefficient Howland's had at the school. The Bruins can't guard, they can't hit the 3 and are a horrendous 61.3 percent from the line. Nothing comes easy for this bunch.

Can't see it lasting, though. Howland's bringing in talent next season, and some of this year's deadweight will be gone. Pac-10 opponents should get in their licks while they can.

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