UCLA Basketball: The Road Trip Curse

Norman Powell discombobulated UC Berkeley's star Cobbs but Randle went off on him. - Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

Bumped, BN Editors.

We can't seem to get a road trip sweep-even with the league title and a protected seed in San Diego on the line.

I wish that was the only problem. If it were, then I'd bring in the sports psychologist for the players, and since we're already paying the coach $2.8 million plus a couple of BMW's, the AD might as well throw in five sessions a week with the best shrink in Beverly Hills.

DC wrote about the trend here and Bruinette88 wrote about defense, or lack thereof, here.

Nevertheless, the second road trip game is a problem with the coaching and the players. DC will review the coaching, so I'll defer on that, but the let me point out the most egregious example of a the second game let down: Chasson Randle went off for 26 points, mainly on Norman Powell. At Cal, Norman completely discombobulated Justin Combs. Kudos, of course, to Stanford's excellent shooting afternoon. Randle was 8-13 from 2 and 3-4 from 3. I have to admit, I was a bit distracted Saturday in the hospital changing diapers already, and the Iphone was limiting, so I can't comment on Stanford's schemes, but I know we came out low energy. Norman did have a good offensive second half, finishing with 14, but besides not keeping up with Randle, he was blocked twice by Huestis on the same exact drive. That's unforgivable by Chris' old school rules: you shouldn't get blocked at all (a bit of hyperbole, but there's a element of truth to it at its core). Stanford had six blocks in all. Slow Nastic caught up to Bryce on a breakaway, and Tony also got blocked by Powell--plus 2 more just for fun.

When did we lose this game? In the 13 minute first half stretch with Bryce in, and controlling the flow while Kyle was off-ball. I think Bryce spotted up twice, hitting one 3, then proceeding to go 1-5 beyond the arc. We're all screaming at the combinations and their duration.

I read an article a week ago in an unnamed blog owned by Time Warner. The author must be a high school kid. His argument was that we needed to expand the rotation to 9 or 10 to achieve success in the PAC-12 tourney and NCAA's.

I'm feel the exact opposite way, though I admit we probably don't have the horses. In the NBA, they play about 75 games before they even start trying. If you ever wonder why some players make an NBA roster while most of the college stars drop off by year two or three, its because you need a certain amount of supposed defensive stoppers to make it through the long season. By playoff time, it turns exclusively into a half-court game (Phoenix never did anything-remember?), and even the last seeded team plays man-to-man like a fly on shit. That's what I love (or loved) about college basketball-they play hard all year. My point , though, is that the pros go with a shortened rotation for the playoffs.

I'd play Kyle, Adams, and Powell 35-38 minutes each from here on out. Is it practical? Probably not. Kyle and Jordan can't do it physically, and Norman can't do it mentally.

By the way, where would the minutes come from? Well, obviously Bryce, but more than that. Outside of the Big 3, for the next 4, I would really pay attention to the match-ups of the particular game and ride the hot hand when its there.

Zach's a liability on defense and mistake prone in the clutch, but of course, I like him in the press and on offense when he's on.

We'll always be vulnerable in the interior. The Wears are limited and Tony is hot and cold. Saturday, the announcer pointed out numerous times that Tony owned Stanford. Powell and Huestis are too light, and Nastic is immobile. The one positive thing I've been writing about Tony for TWO years is that he is excellent at backing his man down and putting out his hand for a clear target. Unfortunately, the entry pass is hard to come by in college basketball, though we are better at it this year. Saturday, it should have been every time until Stanford took Nastic out, or better yet, doubled Tony so that Powell would not help on Kyle.

The Kyle, Jordan, Norman, Zach and Tony lineup will work sometimes, and sometimes not. Tony will get in foul trouble, and he will give up offensive rebounds. We have to live with the front court we have.

I just want my three best veteran players in almost all the time.

We probably lost a few mainstream writers from the developing bandwagon this week--haven't looked at our Kenpom defensive rank yet.

<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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