Bruins get to take another huge (no pun intended there) test tonight. Dohn reports on the challenge facing the Bruins:
The Cardinal front line of 7-foot freshman twins Brook and Robin Lopez and 6-8 wing Lawrence Hill, all of whom can block shots, will mean the smaller Bruins will be asking for more offense from 6-9 center Lorenzo Mata and for 6-8 power forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute to use his quickness on the perimeter.
"Moving without the ball (is important for Mbah a Moute), and offensively I think we can do some things," UCLA coach Ben Howland said. "We have to try and utilize that."
But that is not how UCLA's offense is built. Guards Arron Afflalo (16.8 points per game) and Darren Collison (12.8) and wing Josh Shipp (14.1) are the Bruins' top scorers. They get their points via the outside shot, and off penetration.
Mata is averaging only 4.6 shots per game, and Mbah a Moute, despite shooting 48.8 percent from the field, is an inconsistent jump shooter.
"I've never played against (the Lopez twins), so I don't know how quick they are," Mbah a Moute said. "I definitely should be able to use (quickness) against them."
As the LA Times report notes, the Lopez twins, who are getting all the publicity right now, are not the only athletes Stanford has on its roster
The Cardinal will be the tallest team the third-ranked Bruins have faced since their loss to Florida in last season's NCAA title game -- and this UCLA lineup is smaller without 7-footer Ryan Hollins.
The Bruins are clear about the challenge, particularly for inside players Lorenzo Mata, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and reserves Alfred Aboya and Ryan Wright.
"We've just got to play smart, try to shot fake," Mata said. "I guess they've got two 7-footers, and I'm our tallest at 6-9, 6-10.
"We've just got to do our best, Luc and me and Ryan and Alfred."
The guards know they play a role, too.
Tonight's game (5 pm PST) will a big test for the Bruins. As mentioned already, it won't be a huge deal if they don't ace the test tonight. However, it's a test they are more than capable of acing if they focus and play their game. Thankfully, our guys have a teacher who will make sure they are as prepared as then can be going into the game.