Ben Ball Game Day Roundup: Getting In The Right Mindset

After licking their wounds for days Howland and his basketball team get back on the court tonight. Probably the biggest issues to watch out for tonight is how our team is going to react mentally and emotionally on the road where they have suffered three straigh losses, which included the humiliating performance against Zona little more than a week ago.

As mentioned yesterday the Stanford team is struggling too. They have suffered 6 straight losses themselves including two season spiraling losses in Oregon. Yet as we know they will probably not have any problem getting fired up over having a chance to inflict more damage on the current UCLA basketball season. So the question will be how the Bruins come out of the game and react to the hostile crowd in Maples Pavillion. The key for the Bruins will be to get in that right mindset. From the LA Times:

The Bruins have virtually no margin for error in the Pac-10 race, a fact the players said could help.

"It just seems like when our back is against the wall, we play better," point guard Darren Collison said. "But in some games we're just out there running through the motions. We can't have that."

The Pac-10 regular-season title and tournament wait to be claimed. It's just that the Bruins haven't played with the consistency to suggest they are likely to grab them.

But forward Josh Shipp, who said his senior season has not gone "at all" like he expected, said the bull's-eye on a Bruins team that has won three consecutive Pac-10 titles and reached three consecutive Final Fours is smaller now, and that is not all bad.

"The main thing, I think we're all excited. We're at the point where we don't have anything to lose," Shipp said.

"We still have the Pac-10 tournament. We still have the NCAA tournament. So our season can turn out very well. For us, like I said, it's just getting that intensity going these last few games and hopefully going on a streak."

I am sure JS and DC were doing some classic "player speak" because I hope they are not thinking about the NCAA and the Pac-10 tournament. One thing the AA/JF led teams were able to do was to zero in with that proverbial game by game mentality and not look ahead to the bigger picture. The only thing our guys should focus on at this point is playing better in each game so that they are in the best form possible when they head to to Madness in 21 days. More from the Daily News:

"We're a very emotional team," UCLA wing Josh Shipp said. "We're high, and then we're low. We have to find a way to always be on the high side of that, and when we are, we're a tough team to beat."

I think JS is off key here. It is not about getting on the high side of emotion, it is about playing with a mindset that is somewhere in the middle. And interestingly it was DG who nailed it following the embarrassing loss against Arizona:

"It's weird, it comes and goes, our confidence," UCLA freshman center Drew Gordon said. "The confidence is high one game, low another game. We have to go at a constant pace. We can't go fast (one game). We can't go slow one game. We have to get to one certain level and stay there, and we have to find out what that level is.

I hope our players find that level tonight from the start and can maintain it for the entire game. At this point there is no special formula for our success. We know what our team needs to do. We have written it over and over and over again: play consistent defense, rebound their hearts out, and attack relentlessly on offense (without settling for jumpshots).

The main thing for our players at this point is to find that right mindset DG was referring to and stay in that mindset for an entire game. If they can do that they will able to finish off the regular season like previous Ben Ball warriors were doing in last few years. Hopefully they can start that tonight (and then we can think about the next game).

GO BRUINS.

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