UCLA 95 - Northwestern 79: Six Observations

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sp

Bumped. - BN Eds.

1. The Wear Twins need to start rebounding if they want their ‘R’ back.
Especially Tavis, whose rebounding/minute average (0.12) is behind Jordan Adams (0.15). Here’s the complete list:

Rebounds/Minute (through 7 games)
Anderson 0.31
Parker 0.29
DWea 0.21
Adams 0.15
TWea 0.12
Powell 0.11
LaVine 0.11
BAlford 0.08

2. Norman Powell needs to be more disciplined on defense. Powell is our best defender and a genuine offensive threat. We’re better when he’s on the court, so he has to avoid picking up early fouls. Through seven games, Powell is committing fouls with the frequency of some of our bigs. In fact, the player who is just ahead of him in fouls/minute is Tony Parker, and that’s not a flattering comparison for Powell. Here’s the complete list:

Fouls/Minute (through 7 games)
Anderson 0.04
Adams 0.05
LaVine 0.07
BAlford 0.07
DWea 0.09
Powell 0.10
Parker 0.12
TWea 0.17

3. Bryce Alford deserves 15+ minutes per game if he stops pretending to be a human turnstile on defense. Bryce played a smart and efficient game on the offensive end last night. He deserves credit for that. But his contribution on the defensive end remains unacceptable. His inability to close out on perimeter shooters will hurt us even more against top teams, and the fact that he continues to let opponents drive by him leaves his teammates vulnerable to fouls and creates too many easy chances for the other team. And to the person who left this comment last night:

"Why would you not praise Alford after this performance. Talk to me and tell me how he could have done any better."

I have a one word answer: DEFENSE.

4. Bail may be our best post defender in spite of his inexperience based on what I’ve seen so far. He’s quick and strong enough to play man defense, and he seems to have better rebounding instincts than the Wea twins. What this team desperately needs is a tough big who can strengthen the interior of our defense and rebound. A Lorenzo Mata-Real. That’s not Bail, but he’s the closest thing to it that we’ve got.

5. It’s time for Alford to give a good test run to his best lineup: Anderson, Adams, Powell, LaVine + flavor of the day big. That lineup includes our best rebounder, our top three defenders, our best passers, ball handlers and scorers. Throw in Wannah Bail and we have a group that can score and play man defense in the final minutes of a close game. We may need that when we get past the cupcake part of our schedule.

6. Zach LaVine is better than advertised. He has a maturity to his game that I didn’t expect. His shot selection is good, he has terrific confidence, he handles the ball well, and plays decent defense. It will be interesting to see how he plays when the competition improves.

<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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