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Saturday jinx ...

We have lost games on two Saturdays in a row (both at home against Washington and West Virginia). Today we are going to take on a good Pac-10 team in Oregon State, a team with record, 10-9 (3-5 in PAC) is kind of deceiving. Last year we split the season series with these guys, but they beat us in the Pac-10 tourney, 79-72. These guys are coming off a tough overtime loss against USC, and they are going to be fired up to play us.  Just like Cal they are going to pose some interior match up problems for us. Here is BBR writeup keying on matchups between the bigs:

The Bruins will need to match up against a big OSU front line. UCLA did not fare well against Cal's big front line; however, the Bruins center Ryan Hollins did not play in that game. The senior Hollins has played well on the defensive end since his return from a groin injury. He grabbed season-high 8 rebounds against West Virginia last week.

Sophomore 6'7 forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute had a double-double performance against Oregon on Thursday scoring 15 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.

Senior forward Cedric Bozeman played 18 minutes against the Ducks and looks to continue his road back from a shoulder injury. He hit the only shot he took in the game - a 3-pointer, but most importantly, Bozeman provided the Bruins with a steadying presence on both ends of the court.
Ced's return has been huge. Howland described Bozeman's performance against Ducks Thursday night as "invaluable," and has rewarded him with a start today against the Beavers:
UCLA coach Ben Howland called Cedric Bozeman's 18 minutes "invaluable" in the win against Oregon, despite the senior wing scoring just three points, grabbing only two rebounds and dishing out one assist.

It was because Bozeman's return from a left shoulder injury allowed leading scorer and top defender Arron Afflalo to play 31 minutes, his lowest total since before Bozeman was injured, and also took pressure off freshman Michael Roll.

In fact, point guard Jordan Farmar said having Bozeman back "helps everything."

Because of those factors, Howland said Bozeman will start at wing in place of Roll today, when No. 17 UCLA visits Oregon State.

"(Bozeman) makes us a better defensive team," Howland said. "It had nothing to do with anything about Mike Roll's performance. I think that we're a much better team now, having Mike Roll, a guy that received all these minutes over the last (five games). But Ced deserves the start, so I'm going to start him."
Along with Ced another kid who is going to be key in our matchups against OSU bigs - the all world freshman - Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. Times has a nice story today on the recruiting trip Howland took down to Monteverde Academy, outside of Orlando, Florida, to land who is turning out to be the best freshman in the Pac-10, if not the country. Actually, if for some reason Luc doesn't become a freshman All American - we will attribute that to laziness of morons like Vitale et al. (see our poll on the right) who are too lazy to spell out - Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. Anyways, back to the game. Lets hope Prince Luc and his teammates can break the dreaded Saturday jinx this afternoon (tip off 1 pm PST) and bring home a W today. It will be huge for our prospects of taking control of the Pac-10 race. GO BRUINS.