UCLA should get a morale lift when it takes the court in Tucson Friday and sees Iowa State instead of Arizona in the white uniforms. . . .
Of course, I hope the Bruins aren't caught looking ahead to Coastal Carolina. . . .
Worst first-round matchup: North Carolina vs. East Carolina. . . .
Somebody should tell the tournament selection committee, which bypassed deserving Nevada Las Vegas, that Jerry Tarkanian no longer coaches the Rebels. . . .
The Pacific 10 boasts as many entries as the Big East, but that is no great achievement this season. . . .
Cal State Long Beach has a chance to upset Illinois, depending on which 49er team shows up for Seth Greenberg. . . .
Funny, but two-time defending champion Duke might be the sleeper. . . .
For once, Bob Arum has underrated one of his promotions. . . .
He said that the war waged by Michael Carbajal and Humberto Gonzalez Saturday night at the Las Vegas Hilton was the greatest since Marvelous Marvin Hagler knocked out Thomas Hearns under the Arum banner in 1985. . . .
This one was better because it was seven rounds of fury, instead of three, and the finish was more dramatic. . . .
Two guys who would be outweighed in the Santa Anita jockeys' room kept bringing the crowd to its feet before Carbajal, who had been knocked down twice and was trailing by four points on each scorecard, delivered a straight right and a six-inch left hook to the jaw that flattened Gonzalez in the seventh round. . . .
There will have to be a rematch someday, although it won't be able to equal the original. . . .
Keeping busy in the near future will be Oscar De La Hoya, who has bouts scheduled for April 6 in Rochester, N.Y., May 8 in San Antonio, May 19 in Beverly Hills and June 7 in Las Vegas on the George Foreman-Tommy Morrison undercard. . . .
If not for what transpired in the main event, the fans would have left the convention hall Saturday talking about a virtuoso performance by De La Hoya. . . .
The Olympic champion showed uncommon poise, patience, and skills during his four-round dissection of Jeff Mayweather, a quick opponent with considerable main event experience. . . .
De La Hoya, who just turned 20, should be fighting for a world title by the end of the year. The opponent could be World Boxing Assn. lightweight champion Tony Lopez of Sacramento. Arum already has had discussions with Lopez's promoter, Don Chargin. . . .
Ring announcer Michael Buffer's tuxedo was a casualty of the Eastern storm. An unexpected switch in planes on the way to Las Vegas cost him his luggage, so Buffer had to slum it and introduce Carbajal while wearing a leather jacket and jeans. . . .
Los Angeles sports talk radio lost its voice of reason when Jim Lampley quit his KMPC morning show. . . .
Thumbs up to the Dodgers for instituting a no-smoking policy at the Stadium. . . .
President Clinton's mother, Virginia Kelley, will throw out the first ball before the Don MacBeth Memorial Jockey Fund softball game between jockey and celebrity teams Sunday at 6:15 p.m. at Arcadia County Park. . . .
Some of the same people hissing the move of the Minnesota North Stars to Dallas applauded in 1960 when the Minneapolis Lakers moved to Los Angeles. . . .
Rod Bernstine should finally give the Denver Broncos a back who is more of a threat running the football than John Elway. . . .
It is bad enough that college players miss so many free throws, but even worse that so many misses are followed by high-fives from teammates. . . .
Now that George Hendrick is a minor league hitting instructor for the St. Louis Cardinals, he is talking to the press. . . .
The International Baseball Assn. has announced the establishment of the Ike Ikuhara Award, which will be presented annually to an outstanding young athlete in memory of the popular Los Angeles Dodger executive. . . .
New guessing game: Which executive will see his team play more games this season, the Angels' Whitey Herzog or the New York Yankees' Reggie Jackson?