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Offense/Defense in hoops are not mutually exclusive

Thought I bring your attention to a Steve Bisheff column, which ran in the OC Register today. Bisheff is arguing that the lack of offense in this year's team has to do with Howland's focus on defense:

It's all about defense now at UCLA, and that's fine. Unless it begins interfering with the flow and rhythm of the offense.

Take nothing away from what has happened already in Westwood this season. Howland has plugged many of the gaping holes evident in this program when he arrived.

He has brought stability. He has brought consistency. And even with injuries ravaging his roster, he has brought the 22-6 Bruins to the ledge of their first Pac-10 title in nine years and a likely No. 3 or No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

The trick now is to take it to the next step, to get at least as far as the Sweet Sixteen amid all the other madness in March.

To do that, the offense, that seemingly semi-neglected part of the Howland equation, has to execute better than it has of late.
I am not exactly sure where is Bisheff is getting the idea that our ferocious defense is somehow negatively affecting ebb and flow of our offense. To me right now the reasons for some of the recent woes on the offensive side of the ball are fairly simple - we haven't been making our outside shots. Since we don't really have any credible inside threat and a viable third scoring option, game after game teams have been throwing the zone defense against this UCLA team. And except for Jordan the other kids have not been reliable in busting the 3s/long range jumpers. Its not that AA is getting tired focusing on energy in defense, it?s because Jordan and AA are not getting any scoring support from our bigs.  If we had some credible offense from our big guys inside (except for some Hollins spurts here and there)night in and night out - AA, Roll et al. would face much less pressure on their outside shots.  The fact that our offense is sagging has a lot to do with that lack of experienced or credible inside threat and not having a viable consistent third scoring option besides AA and JF.  I do believe if Josh Shipp hadn't gotten hurt - this team would have put on a better offensive performance this season.

That said I am pretty happy with where this team is right now at this point of the season give my pre-season and mid-season expectations.  Of course it would be nice for this team to make a run to Sweet-16, but as everyone knows the Big-Dance is a crap shoot in which even a well coached team (think those Roy Williams coached team from KU) can fizzle away in the first round or make a deep run taking advantage of matchups.

Right now all I am looking for this team is to come out focused during the first few mins of Thursday night. We got killed against USC because we were inexcusably lethargic on offense. I don?t think it had much to do with us spending too much energy on defense.  We were sloppy with the ball during the first half, not making our FTs, and outside shots.  We are going to make an impact in the tourney if someone else besides JF and AA can provide a viable scoring punch, our guards are making their outside shots, and we get some inspire play from our bigs inside.  There are lot of ifs there, but we can make it happen.  But I think it is a little silly to argue the point Bisheff seems to be making that we are not doing well offensively this season because we spend too much energy by focusing on defense. Offense/defense are not mutually exclusive. We are going to have both under Howland in due time  once he has all his personnel in place.  There are other factors involved here which Bisheff is overlooking. Its kind of a bummer - I like Bisheff's columns a lot more and I expect him to look beyond the easy story lines unlike some lazy columnists (initials BP) from LA's traditional sports media.