Although I didn't watch the game against Southern Cal, I'm pinch hitting for bruinclassof10 today. Personally, I've had a hard time watching the basketball program for the past few years. Last year, I felt somewhat guilty about not watching. This year, I have a built in excuse because I don't get the Pac-12 Network. Thankfully, the season is almost over (football cannot come soon enough), and soon the UCLA Basketball program will be under new leadership and headed in a new direction.
1. Initial impressions of the JustSC game?
Nestor: Unfortunately I didn't get to watch the Southern Cal game. We were stuck with the broadcast between Binghamton and University of New Hampshire (or something) and I wasn't near a computer. That said, always satisfying to see a comfortable margin of victory against the Trojans in basketball because that is how it always should be against Just$C. In any event, tough for me to offer game specifics without watching it.
Tydides: Uh, the Trogans are bad? Fortunately, we didn't have idiots crawl out of the woodwork, declaring this some big game or big win. It's something to keep in mind as the season winds down here. Our failures this year in no way lower the bar for what is expected. We're not in the business of goalpost moving.
DCBruins: It showed the good and bad of Ben Howland.
freesia39: I got to watch on tape delay. Nothing is as riveting as watching a basketball game, on tape delay, and you had to keep yourself off the internet so that you wouldn't accidentally stumble across the score. Of course it's not like we're a big time program or anything and our score wouldn't be plastered everywhere... oh wait. What did this game show? Southern Cal is not a good basketball team, and we are not always a good basketball team.
tasser10: watching this game, even on delay, made me even more angry at the loss in OPUG. It wasn't depressing, Ben, it was infuriating.
gbruin: Considering how short our bench was and given our weakness inside versus their size, our team came out strong and inspired and played a smart, tough game.
2. The Good?
Tydides: We didn't get swept by justsc. I mean really, watching those untalented scrubs try to play something that resembled basketball just shows how utterly unacceptable the game in Old Pauley Under Glass was. On Reggie Miller's night no less. Disgraceful.
DCBruins: The first half. Despite Travis Wear being out and with Shabazz having one eye almost closed due to pink eye, UCLA played a virtually flawless first half on offense and destroyed just SC.
freesia39: The first half was good. It was nice to come out and blitz an inferior opponent.
tasser10: pink eye is extremely contagious so Shabazz likely gave it to a lot of Trogans.
gbruin: I agree about the first half. It was nice to see this team come out of the locker room with a purpose. Aside from taking too many shots, David Wear played his role very well, which was key to the team's success. Larry Drew II set the tone early, and Jordan Adams was our best player. Tony Parker's first half was very good, as well.
3. The Bad?
Tydides: We had better not have to match up with them in the PAthetiC-12 tournament, because their antics at the end of the game was straight up bush league. It's no surprise when Trogans act without class, but would it surprise anyone if the Trogans decide that trying to sabotage a tournament bound team is more important than trying to win the game?
DCBruins. The second half. SC's play was ugly and the coach's reaction classless. I will only add that Tydides is too mild above. The other bad was Howland. Tony Parker played well in the first half and only made a brief appearance in the second. UCLA ran well and played offense beautifully in the first half but Howland slowed the game down and stalled the second half away briefly letting SC back in the game.
freesia39: This team doesn't have a killer instinct or closer mentality. They keep letting teams back in. This season (before the season, I do admit) I expected us to blow teams out by 20 on a consistent basis. Even when we're up by 20 we can't keep them down by 15. Come on. I halfway mentally checked out when Southern Cal started going it's Southern Cal thing so I didn't see all of the shenanigans, and if Howland is going to start playing "clock basketball" like in football, this just makes his brand of basketball look worse. And I spent a LOT of time defending his defensive minded brand of basketball, such a shame it no longer exists.
tasser10: Parker's play only reinforced our calls to have him play more. That, and every time I saw Shabazz I had to say "dude, wash your hands..."
gbruin: Viral conjunctivitis is isn't that big a deal, but I sprayed some disinfectant on my TV because it seemed the safe thing to do. I would have liked to see us step on their throats in the second half, instead of meandering along just enough to keep things from getting too uncomfortable. After Parker's first half, why didn't we see him more in the second?
4. This Week's MVP?
Tydides: Just one game this week, so the schedule for only making us watch one of these games? If that doesn't count, then I guess the best performer in the only game: Jordan Adams.
DCBruins. While Jordan Adams had the best game overall, I will give it to Larry Drew II. To start the game Larry Drew II hit two open threes which forced SC's sagging defense to come out and play him. After that, it was all over as he ran the offense to perfection and we led by 21 at half. His ability to make teams play him will be key for future games.
freesia39: I agree on Larry Drew II. He's hitting his shots and he's running the offense. Makes me wonder what COULD have happened if Howland, five years ago, didn't mess around with his recruitment.
tasser10: Larry Drew II, came out with purpose and vengeance on his mind, a bit of the killer instinct that has been missing (although it disappeared in the second half but I blame that on the dementor)
gbruin: I agree Jordan Adams and Larry Drew II had excellent games, but we know they have that performance in them. David Wear is the one who far outplayed anyone's expectations and made the biggest difference.
5. The Free Throw
Nestor: Pac-12 is so horrible that Bruins are more than drivers' seat to win the conference. I expect Bruins to sweep the Arizona schools this week. If we get that done, we should be set up well to close out the season against the hapless Washington schools on the road led by two of the worst coaches in the conferences.
Tydides: 4 regular season games left in the Howland era.
DCBruins: I think a shout out needs to be made to Shabazz Muhammad. He played hard (not always well) this game with one eye. Earlier in the year he played with the flu and other times at less than a 100%. While Shabazz sometimes focuses on selfish offense too much, I do respect how hard he plays even when he is not feeling well.
freesia39: My eye was itching as I looked at Shabazz's eye. All I could see were pinkeye germs flying. Ugh I'm itchy right now writing about it!
tasser10: if you catch a bit of any other college basketball from around the country, particularly some top 25 action, you'll see just how bad the Pac-12 is. Makes me want to scream like a goat...
gbruin: If we could beat that crappy *$c team like a drum, in one half, on their court, with David starting, Shabazz going monocular, and Travis not going at all, then how did we ever get beaten by them at PUG? That discrepancy is one of the bigger indictments on Howland, and further proof that Howland is not reaching the players and getting the best out of his team. If he could, the first meeting would never have gone the way it did.
Feel free to chime in with your thoughts. We'll be back next week for a post-ASU/UA roundtable. We have a shot at the Pac 12 regular season title! Yay?