Last 48 hours have been a little rough as Bruin basketball fan. So one of the best things that can happen to all of us is actually for the team to get on the court tonight and pull out a win against a pretty tough opponent. And we have some good news to start the morining. AA is 100%, well at least according to him:
Extra practice normally would be admired, but not with the state of 11th-ranked UCLA, which boasts just three players (out of 13) that haven't been injured at one point or another this season. Monday was supposed to be a mandatory off day.
Afflalo, UCLA's leading scorer, had just bruised his hip and backside from a hard fall at Arizona State on Saturday and he had yet to take an X-ray. The day after his unapproved workout, he was sent for precautionary X-rays against his wishes. They were negative, and Afflalo claimed himself 100 percent.
"I'm not a big fan of the training room and X-rays," Afflalo said. "I like the gym. That's it."
Wazzu's playing style aside, the bottom line is that this team is very good. According to Ken Pomeroy's efficiency-based Pythagorean winning percentage projections, WSU is rated 11th in the country. These ratings primarily reflect points-per-possession statistics, which in most cases are better indicators of a team's ability than point-differential or other numbers that can be skewed by a team's tempo (for a complete explanation of Pomeroy's numbers, go here). Supporting this higher-than-expected ranking is that WSU, despite playing without its leading scorer Derrick Low, just won at Washington. And of course Bruin fans should remember that last year we needed to play a total of three overtimes to eke out two victories against the Cougars. In Pauley, we had to erase a 17-point deficit to eventually win in double OT, while in Pullman, we needed Dijon Thompson's three-pointer at the buzzer to send the game to overtime before we emerged victorious. Furthermore, for at least the fourth time this season, UCLA will be facing a reigning conference player of the week. The previous three were Nick Fazekas (Nevada, WAC), Courtney Sims (Michigan, Big Ten), and Hassan Adams (Arizona, Pac-10). This week it's Josh Akognon, a sophomore guard, who had 27 points in WSU's win over Washington.
The point of all of this is that we should expect a very tough game tomorrow, with the patience of our young team severely tested. Hopefully we will not dwell on who is unavailable (Bozeman, Shipp, Fellins), and instead focus on playing well with the guys we have.
This is your game thread. And don't forget to check out Steven's geneous offer below. GO BRUINS.