From the LA Times:
Words rarely uttered by a UCLA basketball player, at least when discussing USC:
"We're going to try to show that we can play with them," UCLA freshman Tyler Honeycutt said Tuesday, a statement that might make those 11 national championship banners -- 10 of which are more than 30 years old -- fade a bit more.
Then again, USC did rout UCLA, 67-46, at Pauley Pavilion last month -- the Bruins' worst loss to the Trojans since 1945.
Southern Cal (14-9, 6-5) might have routed a listless UCLA (11-12, 6-5) team at Pauley, but for all the bravado around a junk Trogan basketball program, it is still just another inconsistent and incredibly mediocre Pac-10 basketball team with a terrible offense.
No doubt these guys are going to be a little fired up because they are not going anywhere in the short team because of their farcical self imposed sanctions. They are also not going anywhere in the long term because I would think NCAA should impose stricter sanctions that would be proportional the insane sleaziness under Tim Floyd and because Kevin O'Neil will be exposed as mediocre, journeyman basketball "coach."
I sure hope while in public Honeycutt is talking about showing how they "can play with them," in the background they are preparing to win this game with 40 minutes of focus and effort. Once again they came up short in that department against Cal and were left uttering meaningless, tired excuses:
"We're going to have to keep the pedal down 100 percent the whole game," Bruins guard Michael Roll said. "We had a big lead last game, and we kind of got complacent. We didn't keep attacking - we got a little stagnant. That's why our offense lagged so much. You can't let up - you can't play hard for 10 minutes and get a big lead and then for the next 10 minutes just be happy with it."
Sorry that doesn't fly Mike. I realize Roll is one of the hardest working players on the team but he knows that doesn't fly and I am sure it is tough for him to just offer up those comments to the press knowing how hollow it all sounds. Speaking of our hardest working players, Reeves Nelson is feeling better after suffering a concussion against Cal:
"I feel a lot better," said Nelson, who was cleared to participate in non-contact drills Tuesday. "All my symptoms pretty much went away halfway through the Super Bowl on Sunday. I feel pretty normal."
Nelson was injured when he collided with Markhuri Sanders-Frison, California's 6-foot-8, 275-pound reserve center, early in the game.
"We were talking that we both felt really dizzy, but we were going to stay in the game," Nelson said.
"That's my first concussion. I was really weirded out by it."
Well UCLA is taking all the precautions necessary with Nelson. Per the OC Register Nelson "spent part of Monday on a stationary bicycle", and yesterday "he was cleared to participate in two days' worth of non-contact practices." Hopefully he will available and ready to go on Sunday but I certainly understand if Howland and the medical staff take as much time as necessary before putting him on the court.
Going back to the Trogans according to the latest Pac-10 statistics, they have the worst scoring offense in the conference, ranked 8th in 3 pt FG pct (.322), and also awful from the FT line coming in 9th in the conference (well you know who is the worst). Of course they are on top of the defensive categories. For Bruins to win on Sunday they will need to do it with toughness (which means holding our own in the rebounding department) and smarts (which means not turning the ball over and setting each other up for easy shots within the flow of the game instead of jacking up threes), and an intense/sustained defensive effort for 40 minutes
Are the Bruins capable of bringing it? Of course. We saw them do it against Washington schools and during noticeable spurts against Arizona State, Oregon, Oregon State and Stanford. If they can put it together on Sunday, they will come back with a 4-0 record at Pauley East. They need it because a moral victory is not going to help them much to help ease the frustrations prevalent throughout Bruin Nation.