The UCLA Bruins have the talent and the manpower that led to them being ranked No. 11 in the nation, but by blowing an 18-point lead and falling to Cal Poly this week, reality struck.
"We thought we had the No. 1 recruiting class, we got the returners, the hype," Powell said. "Now we know it's not going to be 'Oh, this is UCLA so we're going to get the W.' It's going to be 'This is UCLA so we need to come out and play the way UCLA needs to play.' "
Outside of 20-plus point victories against Indiana State and James Madison so far, UCLA hasn't looked sharp. The Bruins pulled out a 80-79 overtime win against UC Irvine in the second game of the year, fell by eight to Georgetown and beat Georgia by four points.
And then, Cal Poly beat Ben Howland's team 70-68 on Sunday. UCLA could cite its rotation rich with youth as a reason why it has struggled, especially on defense. Point guard Larry Drew II added that the team is playing much more selfishly early on in the year after showing a team-oriented style during a preseason tour in China.