UCLA basketball's 13 straight wins hold promise for March success

Pick a scenario, any scenario. A taut game that comes down to the last possession. A rout before halftime. Down by double digits early. Ahead comfortably after a huge

opening run. Top players struggle. Shots don’t fall. There's a huge second-half letdown. Barely any production from reserves. A starter goes down for weeks because of an

injury. What’s the common thread? UCLA has prevailed in every situation. No matter what has gone right or wrong, the seventh-ranked Bruins have won every game

over the last 7½ weeks. UCLA’s 13-game winning streak is the longest in the nation among major conference college teams, vaulting the Bruins (16-2, 7-0 Pac-12) atop the

conference standings and putting them on a trajectory for a No. 1 or a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament. Scoffing at the significance of a January winning streak, UCLA

coach Mick Cronin joked that his team’s recent run and $4 could get somebody a cup of coffee at Starbucks. Yet the ability to win in so many ways could also make the Bruins

ideally suited for a Big Dance marathon in March and April, when six consecutive victories will be needed to remain the last team standing. “At a dance contest, you got to

be able to dance to every song they play,” Cronin said Saturday, relaying an old saying favored by his 81-year-old father, Hep. “Some are slow, some are fast. It ain’t the tango

every night. You got to be able to win in different ways against different styles. But when you defend, you always got a chance.” Their record notwithstanding, the Bruins

are not a dominant team. They are not blessed with knockdown shooters outside of senior guard David Singleton. Their offense is prone to extended lulls.