Over the course of the year, this UCLA team has made itself into something; there are identifiable attributes and characteristic ways it plays when it wins.
There are two regular-season games and the conference tournament to make that identity as perfect as it can be—an identity to go with as far as it will take them.
These Bruins are a fast-breaking, ball-secure, ball-sharing, shot-shooting, point-scoring squad.
Their offensive tempo is the 25th fastest in the country and No. 1 in the Pac-12. UCLA shoots the most shots, makes the most shots and carries the highest field-goal percentage in the league at 46.3.
The team has the most assists per game in conference at 17.2, which is fifth best nationally. The assist-to-turnover ratio is 1.52, fourth best in the country and tops in the league.
There are also two critical role players off the bench in David Wear and Norman Powell to keep securely in the orbit of what this team is doing. Powell—the big-energy, big-plays-at-both-ends guy—had another highlight-reel facial dunk against Arizona (that's the video at the top of the page). It might have been the most unforgettable play of the game.
Wear had 10 points and nine rebounds that were critical in the five-point, 74-69 win.
Both Wear and Powell play a little more than 21 minutes a night, and each must make an impact now and until it ends for this team to go as far as it can go.
Tony Parker, the only other bench contributor, played nicely when Travis Wear was out, but Parker is being brought along slowly and for good reason—he is not quite ready physically or mentally to steadily compete and be considered reliabe at this level in this system.
If he gets his chances, he knows what to do: bang hard on both windows and in the paint, move his feet on his hedges, set big, well anchored screens, rebound and score if he gets the ball around the rim.
Parker is steadfastly improving. He will be much more a part of this conversation next year.
The rest of this year, the Bruins needs to settle in and play their style of game to the best of their abilities. What they have created for themselves could be enough to win their own share of the glory.