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Ben Ball Roundup

Bruins are on WWL's college hoops home page. Take a look:

The faces in the "LA Gap Closers" student section are effin' priceless. The reason AA's shot is on WWL? Well Lunardi thinks if the NCAA pairings were out today, Bruins would be the overall number 1 seed. Well that's nice. But it will not matter much if we stumble looking ahead to next big game. Let's hope the Bruins keep gutting out win after win and find themselves in a solid situation after the regular season is over.

On tap for today is ASU. Dohn was in Westwood yesterday to file this report. He focuses on DC's OOC v. Pac-10 production:

Bruins point guard Darren Collison is doing nearly everything just as well in Pacific-10 Conferernce play as he was in nonconference play, with one exception.

After making 59.3 percent of his shots from the field in nonconference play, Collison is shooting just 43.5 percent in conference games heading into tonight's meeting with Arizona State.

"I think the game is slowed down a lot more," said Collison, a sophomore and first- year starter at point guard. "I think in the nonconference, the games are a lot faster pace. Coming back from the Maui (Invitational) and playing against Michigan, we had a lot of fastbreak opportunities where it made it a lot easier for ourselves.

"But the Pac-10, it's a much slower game. Everyone is taking good shots."

Better scouting, a more intense effort on the court and familiarity among teams might also be factors in Collison's lower shooting percentage. But many of Collison's other statistics are just as good in Pac-10 play as they were in nonconference play.

Collison averaged 13 points in nonconference games, and is averaging 13.4 in Pac-10 games. His assist average is 6.2 (nonconference) to 5.6 (conference), his turnover average is 3.4 to 3.2, his rebound average is 2.5 to 2.8, and his steals average is 2.7 to 1.8.
I think DC is only going to get better. He at times has been going through some tough stretches during Pac-10 games. Sometimes he has not been as aggressive as he was early in the season during the first halves. However, to his credit he has been making adjustments in the second halves. Lot of it as Dohn noted is due to good scouting on the part of our opponents. Credit our coaching staff and DC for making the adjustments in the second halves of the game. However, I would like to see him as come out as the aggressor and play his game now that he has had few conference games under his belt.

Elsewhere, Kuwada in the OC Register is talking about how Bruins supposedly have been having tough time against the zone. I don't really buy that assertion. I think Bruins are doing OK (they can do better) against the zone. What I see is the Bruins passing pretty well against the zone and attacking it well. There are times when we have missed gimme shots, which were good shots created within scheme of Howland's offense. However, Bruins haven't been taking too many bad shots against the zone. I'd say Bruins are having a difficult time against the zone if they were taking a lot of bad shots. But they really aren't. They have been taking good shots.

They are actually shooting a decent 41 percent from behind the arc, which includes DC 51.1% and Westbrook's 66.7%. So when DC is taking open shots caused by set screens and knocking them down he is taking good shots. Yes, we have seen some desperate shots here and there (including the unfortunate last second sequence against Oregon, which Howland took the blame for), but in general Bruins have been executing pretty well. Keep in mind they are doing this with players like Mata, AA2, Keefe, who are still learning this game. They are going to be all right once Keefe gets some seasoning, Mata and AA2 develops more. Of course this offense could be something else when Love comes to town next year.

For now though it still comes down to defense. Like I write in seemingly every post before leading up to games, it all begins and ends with Ben Ball inside-the-jersey defense. If Bruins come out playing that lock down defense, and create offense of that pressure, they are going to win every time.

Lastly, one more example of how lot of the assclown talking heads on network studio shows are just clueless. I give you Clark Kellog from CBS:

On Sunday night I was "couchside" for the Oregon-at-UCLA showdown. This game also came down to a game-winning shot.
That's from someone which a major network (presumably) paying (big) $$ to analyze college hoops. No further comment necessary.