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Let the Madness Begin

Folks sorry I am little late in this thread. But guess you can tell we have added one more front pager on BN. Tydides who used to go by "scittles" will be posting on the home page not only representing current UCLA students but I believe he is the first BN front pager from South Campus. Give him a warm welcome. GO BRUINS. -N

You would never have known it was a preseason game.   Well, except for the competition, they weren't quite up to par. But more on that later. It was a great turnout for an exhibition game, and some of the early season games last year weren't as well attended as this was.

Anyway, the Bruins showed me pretty much what I expected out of them. Believe the season previews, I saw a good deal of what they were talking about tonight.

Now I know what Coach Howland was talking about when he was raving about Westbrook. When Howland says that a player is advanced, obviously that means defensively, and he will be earning some minutes for that. I know, he didn't go up against the best competition, but he did a reasonable job playing man-to-man in the Howland style (although he and the rest of the team got a bit scrambled on loose balls, which there were a LOT of). Offensively, he led an almost perfect fast break, dishing at the free throw line to Wright, showing that he has the right mindset to be a point guard, but otherwise he didn't make much of a mark on the game.

I don't want to say too much about what this game means for our players individually, because I would like to see them go up against legit Div I competition before making an impression. But I will say this for sure:

Josh Shipp is back.

Afflalo is the sure and steady man, but Shipp is the crowd pleaser, with multiple dunks on the break and in the early offense. Aboya, Collison, and Afflalo also got in on the dunk fest, which leads me to my next observation:

Our team is FAST.

The majority of our possessions began with running up the court, or with a long outlet pass to midcourt, a huge difference from last year. The number of possessions in our games will go up dramatically. Our days of holding people under 60 might be over by virtue of our new pace. Obviously this doesn't mean that we can't still be a stout defensive team, just don't concentrate on the points so much as the FG% this year.

The execution today both offensively and defensively wasn't what I would classify as superb, but then again, what have they had, a couple weeks of practice? From a purely subjective standpoint, this team is about where last year's was around early-mid December, so given that they are ahead of the curve, I'm not all concerned about the execution at this point in time.

There is no reason for me to get too positive or negative following a preseason game, so I'll just wrap up with the important points:

  1. No injuries (I take nothing for granted after last year)
  2. The team has a head start on last year's, and they are going to need to stay ahead with a tougher early season schedule to contend with.
  3. Howlandball is a fearsome beast, our boys look physically ready to go. We will be a nightmare for opposing teams when our execution comes together.
Edit: Oh yeah, our free throws. It wasn't Elite Eight game against Memphis level bad, but I'd rather not see us go 1 of 2 on every trip to the line... I am sure they will make a "little" time for free throws in practice this week.

Anyway, I apologize for the quality of the following photos, my camera is kind of old.

Jordan Farmar at his old stomping grounds

Earl Watson in town with the Sonics

Remember when we used to lose these exhibition games under Lavin? Thank God for Ben Howland.