UCLA coach Mick Cronin explained the rigorous challenges his team is facing this unprecedented college basketball season.,“The only time (the team) is together is on the bus, that’s when they’re enjoying being a college basketball player,” Cronin said Tuesday.,Center Jalen Hill, who’s been away from the team for weeks, will not be with UCLA (14-5, 10-3) against Arizona, as well as versus Arizona State on Saturday.,More challenges for players include: no off-court team activity, no in-person meetings with academic counselors or tutors, no social life on campus, and no hanging out with Cronin, either.,Following Thursday’s matchup with Arizona, UCLA will have just four games left before the Pac-12 tournament begins March 10.

San Clemente High football assistant coach Joe Wood, who was the head coach at Aliso Niguel when it won a CIF championship, died Friday night.,He was Aliso Niguel’s first varsity football head coach.,Wood coached Aliso Niguel from the 1993 season through the 2005 season.,His replacement after the ’05 season was Jeff Veeder, who was an Aliso assistant coach.,Kurt Westling was on the ’96 championship team coaching staff at Aliso Niguel and would later become the school’s third head coach in 2010.

The UConn women’s basketball team is adding a player into the mix much earlier than expected.Class of 2021 recruit Saylor Poffenbarger, who signed with UConn in November, has finished high school and will be traveling to Storrs this weekend.,She will be able to practice and eligible to play in games with the No. 4 Huskies following a medical quarantine.The Frederick News-Post initially reported the news Friday morning before the school officially announced it later in the day.Storrs, CT - 2/3/20 - Saylor Poffenbarger, left, and Caroline Ducharme watch the UConn women fall to Oregon on Feb. 3, 2020 at Gampel Pavilion.,Poffenbarger, a guard in the Class of 2021, had already committed at the time of the game, while Ducharme, a guard/forward in the same class, announced in April that she will attend UConn.,But as the chances of playing her senior season at Middletown High became less likely, and the NCAA granted an extra year of eligibility for all college athletes this year, Poffenbarger decided now was the time to start her next chapter.With several COVID-19 metrics at an all-time high locally, the Frederick County Public School system suspended winter sport practices earlier this month and has delayed implementing its hybrid learning model.Poffenbarger isn’t the only early enrollee on the women’s basketball scene this season.,’”The Huskies’ roster now includes seven freshmen and 12 players overall.Poffenbarger’s fellow 2021 signees Fudd and Caroline Ducharme will be finishing the school year at their respective high schools, they told The Courant, while Amari DeBerry has not shared her plans as of now.The Big East announced another game postponement Friday afternoon: UConn will not longer play Providence on Jan. 26, as the Friars have extended their pause in play due to additional COVID-19 related issues.

Alabama quarterback Mac Jones didn't hold back in the aftermath of the Crimson Tide's 52-24 dismantling of Ohio State in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game.,They had won 16 in a row dating back to the 2019 season, and then the bottom fell out in consecutive losses by a total of 41 points to Clemson in the ACC championship game and Alabama in the CFP semifinal.,That loss likely kept the Sooners from making their fifth College Football Playoff appearance in the past six years, but they finished the season on an eight-game winning streak, including a 55-20 rout of Florida in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic.,The Wildcats played Ohio State tough in the Big Ten championship game before losing 22-10 and then put an impressive bow on the season with a 35-19 win over Auburn in the Vrbo Citrus Bowl.,They beat Georgia and played Alabama down to the final minutes in the SEC championship game, but had trouble stopping teams on defense all season and lost their last three games, including a 55-20 setback to Oklahoma in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic.