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Ben Ball Notes

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Now back to the topic that puts a smile on the faces in Bruins Nation. Another big week shaping up for the Number 1 ranked Ben Ball warriors. A challenging one, in fact. I have some mish-mash hoops links/notes which I wanted to share with you guys.

The Bruins are on the road for the first time this season (if you don't count the Maui tourney match-up against Kentucky in front of thousands of howling Wildcats fans), taking on the schools from the Evergreen State. Oregon on Saturday is, of course, the match-up all the traditional media are drooling over. However, the Bruins would be foolish if they look forward to Saturday's game. Because they will get tripped up by an Oregon State team, which obviously doesn't have the talent a program like UCLA has, but has a solid coach in Jay John. They will be ready to give their best shot against the number 1 team in the country. They are going to be all jacked up after coming up short in their "moral victories" against Oregon and LSU.

FWIW the Beavers had a tough loss against the Ducks last week. It was their first home loss against the Ducks in four years.  Moreover, the Beavers also gave an LSU team all they could handle, losing to them to by score of 60-53. Here is the quick overview on the Beavers from the Mid Majority Report. Obviously, we will have more notes on this game before Thursday (BTW, why in the world is there no TV coverage for the number 1 basketball team in America. Chalk up another one for Tom Hansen and his pathetic Pac-10 TV Ks, not to mention no initiative on the part of the UCLA PR department).

Some other hoops notes of interest.

Dukie Bilas filed this take on the Washington-UCLA game from last weekend:

If you have watched Washington play, you know that the Huskies are talented and good and certainly will get better throughout the season. But when you watch Lorenzo Romar's club play, it is undeniable that Washington is an inconsistent defensive team.

The Huskies' identity is not to really get out and guard you, with the collective intention of stopping what you like to do offensively. They simply try to outscore you. You can look at the statistics all you want, but it doesn't tell you the real truth.

Here's how you can spot it: When you watch a team, any team, play defense, watch to see what it is trying to take away from the offense. Washington allows passes, its conversion defense is suspect, and it does not really deny you anything.

Washington allowed UCLA to shoot 60 percent from the floor on Saturday and didn't get close enough to the Bruins to foul them. Until Washington really gets after it, collectively, on the defensive end, the Huskies will be vulnerable against really good teams. If the Huskies can make defense a part of their identity, however, this will be a really good team.
A Romar coached team doesn't play defense? Wow that's some great insight Jay.

Also, another Dukie (these guys are everywhere in the traditional media) - Seth Davis - is solidly on the Bruin bandwagon:

To give the No. 1 team in the country a Buy, I'd have to be saying they're a virtual shoo-in to reach the Final Four. That is what I'm saying. More than any other team in the country, the Bruins are capable of winning a game against a quality opponent in the NCAA tournament even when they're having an off night. Their only weakness is a lack of a Ryan Hollins-type big man, but if Arron Afflalo and Darren Collison keep shooting the way they have (51.5 percent combined, 43.6 percent from three-point range), it's hard to envision anyone preventing UCLA from getting to Atlanta.
Of course, these "pundits" will jump off the bandwagon (whining about Ben Howland's offense) as soon as the Bruins suffer their first season loss (for reference, here are my pre season predictions).

Now one thing has been bugging me. I am sure all of you know the Bruins are number 1 in both poll for the 5th week in a row. But has anyone figured out which ass clown HC didn't vote for the Bruins in this week's Coach's Poll? Could it be Timmeh from X-town?

Also, good notes from Pucin yesterday with Howland comments on how this team is ahead of last year's team at this point of the season. We obviously agree with our head coach.

Oh, here is a very cool picture of the Den (taken presumably during the intros of the teams before the Washington game) courtesy of a Bruin fan Brian:

Love our Den.

That's all I got for now. If there things I missed, just add them in the comments, or diary it up.