Ben Ball Notes: Howland To Try Out Zone?

I stayed away from all traditional media outlets until this am. So just seeing this in the LAT's game report:

[W]ith UCLA suffering a third loss in four days at the Anaheim Convention Center, Coach Ben Howland uttered words that some people around Westwood never thought they would hear.

"We may have to play some zone," said the coach who built his program on scrappy, man-to-man defense. "We're definitely going to have to play softer and pack it in because we're getting beat."

Frank Burlison provided a little more context on Howland's thinking on why is he thinking about the zone:

"You're going to have a hard time in every game if you can't stay in front of the basketball (off the dribble, man to man)," he said. "Maybe we'll go to some zone or, at least play softer (man to man) and pack it in and be more help-conscious."

When was the last time he has had these kinds of concerns about defense, which has been the foundation of the program during his six-plus years at the school?

"We've been pretty good the last five or six years," he said. "It's been a while - a long while, I should say."

Honestly, I am still not sure how I feel about. Is he really going to do this? If so is he going to make an earnest attempt to play zone or will he make a half-hearted one by giving it a shot for few mins and then going back to man to man (if it's not working right away)? Does this mean we will see a a little more of JMM on the court?

Speaking of seeing action on the court, it sounds like TH is getting close to his return:

Freshman forward Tyler Honeycutt said he should be able to return to the Bruins for the Dec. 6 game against top-ranked Kansas after sitting out the first six games with a stress reaction in his right tibia. We'll see if that's the case since he still hasn't practiced at full speed. Honeycutt will help, but he's not a savior offensively.

The problems with the Bruins are missing too many good looks, a lack of consistency at the free throw line, lack of a proven go-to post player and erratic effort, which often results in inconsistent defense.

Right now, I am shudderomg to think how we can get by experimenting with something totally new to all of our systems against a team like Kansas. MR offered up the following thoughts on this upcoming week:

"Practice," Roll said, when asked what the Bruins can do to get better. "This whole week (in practice) we're going to have to listen to coach, get back to the fundamentals and get back to 100 percent effort every day."

Right now, I have no idea what to expect in our game and it's an unsettling feeling I haven't experienced around UCLA basketball in years.


<em>This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of BruinsNation's (BN) editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of BN's editors.</em>

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