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Focus ...

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Focus. Yes, I am going to keep trying out the same titles of home page posts I have been putting up last few weeks. Not that I am superstitious or anything. Again I am having a hard time myself from getting past last night but we need to. You can bet Coach Howland and his staff enjoyed that win for 2 hrs and went right back to work pulling an all nighter last night.

Memphis looked in full control last night. They throttled a pretty decent Bradley team. That game was tied a little early at 29 but from then on the Tigers took off DOMINATING both inside and outside. All of their starters are outstanding. Here is the Memphis rotation:

PLAYER ROTATION

Usual Starters -- G Darius Washington, G Chris Douglas-Roberts, F Joey Dorsey, F Shawne Williams, F Rodney Carney. Key Subs -- G Antonio Anderson, F Kareem Cooper, F Robert Dozier, G Andre Allen
Last night Carney was the star.  And, it was Shawne Williams who went off on us in the MSG back in November 24. Williams scored 20 of his 26 points in the first half and was 7-for-7 from the field. He rained down five 3-pointers to help those guys build up a huge 51-34 halftime lead. We made a run thanks to Jordan in second half but it was too little too late.

Memphis sounds confident. They are getting ready for UCLA treating it just like Bradley:
Memphis head coach John Calipari wanted to set the record straight. So, after his team's 80-64 victory over Bradley, he diverted from an answer about the defensive job his team did on the Braves' Patrick O'Bryant to explain.

He respects Bradley. He respects everyone. Just because he said his team didn't watch more than five minutes of tape on the Braves doesn't mean he was overlooking Thursday's opponent. It's just the way he coaches.

"I'm worried about my team. I'm worried about how they're playing," Calipari began. "I respect everybody we play. They all scare me to death. But I just do it different. I don't want my guys -- they don't have to watch five tapes."

The plan will be the same in the regional final against UCLA. After Thursday's win, Calipari told his team not to watch the UCLA-Gonzaga game and to head back to the team hotel and enjoy the victory over Bradley instead. When the time comes, he'll show them what they need to know on film.

"Go ball," Calipari said. "Go ball. I'll worry about the coaching. You just get out there and ball."
Well I sure hope they are not watching that many UCLA tapes (j/k). Seriously I guess they have reasons to be so confident. As mentioned above this is a ridiculously talented team. But they do have an Achilles hill, which we may be able to exploit. From CBS's matchup preview linked below:
Strengths: Talent. Lots of it. The Tigers recruited one of the nation's best recruiting classes last year and all five players are making an impact for a team that uses its speed, quickness and hops to cover the court and run the floor. When the Tigers spread the floor, they are just as capable of hitting the 3-pointer as they are attacking the rim.

Weaknesses: The Tigers lack a true point guard. Washington is a scorer with almost as many turnovers as assists and the other potential point guards, Andre Allen and Antonio Anderson, also struggle at times to control the ball and the clock in the halfcourt games. Washington is the best floor leader of the three and a strong closer down the stretch, but the Tigers need better ball-handling and passing out of the point.
We will see what happens. Zags with Ravio were not supposed to have inconsistent play at pg either. But they came out on fire giving us problem all over the court. It is going to be interesting how we come out in the first half. Are we going to come out like we did against Belmont and Gonzaga or are we going to come out like we did against Bama or in the Pac-10 tourney? I hope it's the later. We will need to focus right from the tip-off. So we do not fall behind by a huge margin in the first half like we did in NYC (or uhm last night).

Speaking of last night, one thing, I hope we are not doing is settling for jumpshots (within our set offense) out of the gate. I'd like to see AA (if his shots are not going in from outside) attack the basket and take it to the rack. We are going to have to be aggressive and attack out of the gate along with playing our trademark "inside-the-jersey" defense.

Again, remember we lost to these guys earlier in the season when we got blown out in the first half. They won the game in first half.  This time things are a little different - we didn't have Mata available in that first game. We didn't have AA2. It was Ced's first game with the new kids. Hollins was a resident member of Fellins crew, and speaking of whom Fey played for 21 mins. So this is a radically different UCLA team from the one back we saw in NYC. We are playing with a purpose and defensive intensity I have never seen in my lifetime as a Bruin basketball fan. I hope the MAGIC from last night's second half carries over tomorrow so that we can see the same Bruin team focused in playing ferocious defense we saw during those last few mins against the Zags. We are going to need those guys. Focused and on fire. Gotta have that Eye of the Tiger (sorry ... my bad ... just couldn't resist). Less than 28 hours to go.

GO BRUINS.