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UCLA took a major step towards the Big Dance yesterday with an impressive 75-65 win over Notre Dame. While the Bruins relied almost entirely on three pointers to score on the Irish, they played a more physical game and prevented Notre Dame from accomplishing much of anything on offense until garbage time.The win was enormous for UCLA. Going into the contest, UCLA had essentially one quality win-- a come-from-behind thriller over Washington early in the season. The Bruins desperately needed another big win, and thoroughly dominating a good Big East opponent on the road was the perfect elixir. The win also helped the entire Pac-10 conference. When the NCAA Tournament committee thinks about whether to take 5th Pac-10 team or a 6th or 7th Big East team, this game can serve as a decent barometer.

UCLA's work is still not done though. They face both Oregon schools at home next weekend, and Oregon State is having a surprisingly good year. If UCLA can sweep both the Beavers and the Ducks, and then win one game in the Pac-10 Tournament, they will be in the Big Dance for sure. Even if they drop one of their next few games, LAist still likes their chances. After two years of missing the NCAA Tournament, it looks like UCLA is finally back where it belongs.