Discussions of UCLA’s hand-picked road to the Final Four, through Sacramento and San Jose, are tabled after a 76-69 overtime loss in Thursday’s Pacific-10 Tournament quarterfinals, replaced by talk about how to fix the Bruins. No longer does it matter where UCLA is sent in the NCAAs, because issues exist well beyond UCLA’s standing in the eyes of the NCAA selection committee. In the most shocking result of coach Ben Howland’s four-year tenure, the Pacific-10 tournament was thrown into turmoil when eighth-seeded California stunned top-seeded UCLA at Staples Center. The loss comes after the Bruins lost their regular-season finale at Washington, and sweeps away aspirations of gaining a No. 1 seed in the NCAAs. More pressing now is how UCLA corrects horrid free throw shooting, how it solves a second straight substandard effort and, most glaringly, how Pac-10 Player of the Year and All-American guard Arron Afflalo will be affected by playing the worst game of his collegiate career. “At this point, after losing two games like this, seedings don’t mean much to me anymore,” said Afflalo, who fouled out with three points on 1-of-7 shooting. “It’s all about how you approach the game, and if you can go out there and beat the other team in front of you. We were a No. 1 seed in this tournament and it didn’t make a difference.” Howland said he still expected the Bruins (26-5) to be placed in Sacramento, but agreed with his players that UCLA’s seeding is now irrelevant. LOS ANGELES – The top seeding in the NCAA Tournament was so vital a week ago. Now, it seems meaningless. “I’m not really worried about (a No. 1 seed) because bottom line, we have to play better than we played in the last two games,” Howland said. “Anybody can beat us on a given day, and I still believe this team can beat anybody on a given day. It’s how we prepare, and so it’s going to get back to fundamentals in everything we do, beginning Saturday when we have our next practice.” Howland was quick to remind everyone this defeat came oneweek after the Bruins clinched the regular-season title, and if this was a one-game happenstance, the tenor of UCLA’s plight would likely be different. However, this loss came on the heels of a poor effort at Washington. UCLA’s success the past twoseasons was built on effort, defense and rebounding, and it faltered in each aspect for the second straight game. Cal shot 54.2 percent in the first half, building a 31-15 lead before taking a 37-25 advantage into the locker room, and made all threeof its shots in overtime. The Bruins shot 15-of-29 from the free-throw line, something Howland attributed to fatigued legs in expending so much energy in rallying from a big deficit. But Cal made 20 of 25 foul shots, and it had played Oregon State the night before. “It’s all mental,” said UCLA point guard Darren Collison, an Etiwanda graduate. “If you’re mentally in the game and ready to play, those things shouldn’t affect you. I thought, collectively, we weren’t ready to play.” Cal (16-16) lost both regular-season games to the Bruins by a combined 26 points, but now are two wins away from an improbable NCAA berth. Cal guard Ayinde Ubaka, who was held scoreless by Afflalo during a January meeting, torched the Bruins for 29points. He was 9 for 12 from the field and scored Cal’s last eight points of regulation, including a floater with 15.4 seconds left to tie the score 61-61. “I think we didn’t show up ready to play this one,” UCLA backup center/power forward Alfred Aboya said. “We have to do a better job getting ready for a game, and not let ourselves get down 15, 16 points before we come back. I don’t really know what happened.” Collison, who scored all 20of his points after halftime, had a chance for the win at the end of regulation, but his open 3-pointer missed badly. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!