UCLA has won five straight games, but based on the national perception, you'd have a difficult time noticing.
In those five games, only one has been against a team of note, No. 18 Brigham Young, but nonetheless, the Bruins have still managed to average over 76 points during their mid-season winning streak and appear to have settled in to head coach Ben Howland's new up-tempo offense.
Washington State, however, led by arguably the conference's most complete and dominant player in Klay Thompson, remains a serious threat to win the Pac-10 conference and could make things difficult on a still young UCLA team Wednesday night.
Countering the presence of Thompson, Howland expects Tyler Honeycutt to return to the lineup after the sophomore forward declared himself "about 92%" during Tuesday's practice, according to Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times.
"I'm able to do everything now," he told Bolch.
But while the return of Honeycutt from a shoulder injury should pay huge dividends on the offensive end of the floor, sound defensive play will remain UCLA's calling card, as the youthful Bruins will be expected to contain a guard-heavy Washington State. Thompson (22.3 points per game) remains the Pac-10's leading scorer and is projected as a first-round pick in next June's NBA Draft. A local product, Thompson, however, was not recruited by UCLA coming out of Santa Margarita High School.
"Believe me, I kick myself in the head every time I think about it because obviously he would be a great player here, as he would anywhere," Howland said.
Tonight's game tips off at 8 p.m. PST and will be televised on FOX Sports West.
For more news and notes regarding UCLA basketball, check out SBN's Bruins Nation.