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Nothing to lose

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Bruins are going to suit up 7 scholarship players today. Actually 8, if you count Janou Roubin as a scholarship player who was a "walkon" for Steve Lavin. Hollins is the other guy who is going to be available for maximum of 15 minutes. Hollins got hurt while injuring himself in a layup drill:

Hollins got hurt in the team's layup line before a game against Sacramento State last month.

"I've never heard of anybody getting hurt in a layup line," Howland said.

Rather than merely laying the ball up, Hollins was trying a dunk when he felt pain in his groin area.
lol - so just keep that in mind whenever Lavin is on ESPN saying how he left some good recruits in the program or if anyone tries to assert this program is still not being affected by Lavin's buffoonery.

Anyways, moving on. By now everyone has heard about Mata. He is out 6-8 weeks with a fractured right tibia.  This is a huge bummer for UCLA basketball fans. Mata was just coming into his own, fighting through the injuries the whole season, getting accustomed to Howland's system and becoming a legit. defensive presence inside. This one is going to hurt, but all we can do is wish him a full recovery so that we can see him in the uniform soon.  Good luck Lorenzo!

On to the game against 13-2 Washington (2-2 in Pac-10). Here are some key points courtesy of BBR's preview:
The Huskies lead the Pac-10 in points (85.7), offensive rebounds (15.7), and total rebounds (40) per game. The Huskies have six players who average more than 4 rebounds per game, including their 5'11 point guard.

The Huskies play an up-tempo game preferring to run at most opportunities, yet they don't tend to make many turnovers. They lead the league with an assist-turnover ratio of 1.27. In comparison, the Bruins are near the bottom of the league with a ratio of 0.72.

Preseason Wooden Award nominee guard Brandon Roy (Sr, 6'6, 210) is the overall leader of the team. He is averaging 19.4 points , FG 52%, and 5.6 rebounds per game. Roy was primarily known as a slasher-type player last year but he has dramatically improved his outside shot by hitting on 51% of his 3-point shots this year.

[...]

Although the Huskies are leading the Pac-10 in scoring, they are last in points allowed 80.3 points per game.

Last year, the Huskies gave teams difficulty with a suffocating pressure defense, but with the loss of key players to graduation, this year's Huskies' team has struggled to maintain the same consistent defensive intensity throughout the whole game. Ben Howland's Bruins will look to exploit the defensive lapses the Huskies have experienced during games this year.
Like I said those were some of the highlights. Make sure to read the whole BBR preview. It's better than any of the paid site pieces you will find elsewhere on the internets. BTW Dukee Bilas also found some spare time from his pimping of East Coast hoops to do a preview of a Pac-10 game. Here is his ESPN preview of Washington-UCLA.

I have a good feeling about today's game. In a way after Mata's injury I have no more expectations in terms of winning the Pac-10. It was becoming clear in last two weeks Bruins are the class of Pac-10 with a healthy Jordan, AA, Josh, Ced, Luc, DC and Mata rest of the game. I don't think there are any other teams who could match up with us well. Perhaps Cal who posed problems inside with their big men - but we probably would have played much better game in Bay Area with a Mata coming into his own, and Aboya and Wright with more game experience. But now we have nothing to lose. We are beat up, banged up, and hobbled. We are going to make the tourney - but that is about it. So the pressure is off. Team can play loose and just follow Howland's game plan like they did so effectively in the first half against Washington State. They did unravel a bit during the waning moments of second half after being in a state of shock over Mata's injury. But they held on. Now they know what they have and come out and play with emotion with a fired up Pauley behind them. Their effort so far given all the injuries has been nothing short of spectacular. They have done an amazing job getting to the first place in Pac-10 by a full game. The whole Bruin nation commends our coaches and players for continuing to play at such a high level looking past all the injuries.

Lets hope a charged up Pauley can provide them with some extra inspiration today and power them on to a huge win. Nothing to lose today ...

GO BRUINS.