The Huskies are buzzing up in Seattle. They are excited and fired up about winning their first outright Pac-10 championship since 1953 (it was Pacific Coast Conference championship back them). Senior center John Brockman is looking to jack up his intensity even more to set an example for his younger team-mates for their trip to LA:
"I think our guys realize how big of a deal this is. And I know I'm going to do my best to try to show them," Brockman said Saturday after the Huskies' 103-84 victory over Oregon. "With this whole thing winding down, the last time going to L.A. for me to play these two schools, it's unbelievable how much more focused I am as a senior right now. As a sophomore, a freshman, a junior, you think it's going to be there forever.
"But I've only got a couple games left, and I'm going to try my hardest to get them to realize that. I think they already see it a little more and are starting to see what is at stake here."
Brockman's younger team-mate - Isaiah Thomas - is not only looking forward to playing UCLA, he is thinking about a sweep in LA:
"These last five games are big, especially this next one," Thomas said. "We can really separate ourselves if we can get this sweep."
Meanwhile, their head coach Lorenzo Romar is talking up Justin Dentmon as Pac-10 POY:
Romar again made a case for Justin Dentmon to be Pac-10 Player of the Year, saying "if we are fortunate enough to be very successful and do well, you've got to put him into the equation.''
There was also talk of the challenge of Pauley Pavilion Thursday, where UW has won just once since 1987, and Romar noted that UW just passed a hurdle by winning at Stanford for the first time in a while time "and maybe this (winning at Pauley) is something we can change this year as well.''
Guess Romar and his players are looking forward to a party in Pauley on their way to a coronation. As for UCLA, I think there is not a lot of mystery in terms of what our guys need to. We have talked on and on about the need to rediscover our defenisve intensity. Howland and his players also talked about the need for rebounding:
Coach Ben Howland said before season rebounding was a concern, and it is showing in the Pac-10. UCLA has been out-rebounded in all four of its league losses, including getting beat 34-27 on the boards by Arizona.
"We weren't blocking out,'' UCLA power forward Nikola Dragovic said. "(Jordan Hill) was standing their by himself and got like six, seven offensive rebounds. It led to second and third shots."
ND and his team-mates will have to do a much better job of blocking out and not allow Brockman and co second and third opporutnityes to get their shots. Moreover, the Bruins will have to be much more aggressive on the offensive. Remember the last time we took on those guys the Huskies went to the line an astonishing 43 times, while we took only 15. We also settled for way too many three pointers (going 9 for 24), which seems to be a trend in most of our losses.
I also think our guys cannot afford to get themselves into a false sense of comfort just because of the fact they are playing at home. Reading the comments from the Huskies players and coaches, you can sense they realize they might not get an opportunity like this in near future to win the Pac-10 title. They are going to throw everything they have at UCLA and our guys will need to be ready for a battle.
Hopefully DC and co will come out with the same intensity they showed in their last home stand in which they were able to take control of games by being aggressive on the defensive side which enabled to jump start the offense. It will be an all out battle on Thursday night. Let's hope it's our guys who come in with more focus and energy this time around.