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Déjà vu

This regular season is starting to look a little like last year's painful regular season when injury bugs ravaged the Bruins roster. We already have had to deal with Josh's injury this season. Now it looks like Bruins are taking another hit. This time is Luc. Luc is out at least for today's game due to a sprained ankle he suffered against ASU. Here is Dohn:

Mbah a Moute, who grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds Thursday against Arizona State, suffered a hyper-extended right knee. According to a UCLA spokesperson, Mbah a Moute injured his knee late in the first half. An MRI was negative, but Mbah a Moute will be held out. He is averaging 9.1 points and a team-leading 7.9 rebounds for the Bruins (16-1). His status for next week's games at California and Stanford is uncertain.

Although no replacement starter was named, Alfred Aboya often splits time at power forward and center.
No doubt this is a big blow for our Bruins. However, it's not the end of the world. Depending on whether Howland decides to go big or small we will see either AA2 or Michael Roll in the lineup. And hopefully it also means we going to see lot more of Westbrook and Keefe. Howland will have no choice now but to give those guys more minutes. Ultimately this may turn out to be a blessing in disguise, as we will have more seasoned and experienced contributors down the stretch. That's how it worked for us last year when the team persevered and battle through injuries.

Luc's injury also means rest of our starters will have to double their defensive intensity (hello Josh Shipp). As I mentioned yesterday Bruins are taking on an explosive Arizona team, that will be desperate. More from BBR's game preview:
Coach Lute Olson's Wildcats are an explosive offensive team, leading the Pac-10 in scoring at 84.9 points a game and shooting 50.5% from the field.

Arizona has scorers at every position on the floor with all five Arizona starters averaging double-figures in scoring.  The team also hits 37.8% from beyond the arc. However, due to the loss of key players on the team they lack depth off the bench.  Playing just one or sometimes just two reserves in games, all five Arizona starters average over 31 minutes played a game.

While offensively, Arizona pushes the ball aggressively looking to push the action, the lack of depth has begun to take its toll on the team as they've looked fatigued at the end of some games.

Moreover, the Wildcats play much more zone defense than they have in the past in order to preserve their starters.  With the loss of defensive stand-outs Hassan Adams and Carlos Rodgers, the Wildcat defense is no where as athletic or aggressive as in past seasons.  While averaging over 12 steals a game last season, the Arizona defense has managed only 6.6 steals a game, and the zone has been porous at times this season.

Arizona switches up their defense throughout the game, playing a 1-3-1, 2-3, and some man-to-man defense.  Considering how the UCLA offense has sputtered against zones this season, the Bruins should expect to see zone defenses throughout Saturday.
Hopefully Bruins will attack the zone with more effort and urgency they showed against ASU. Until the ASU game I had thought the Bruins were doing a better job in attacking zone defenses this year compared to last (see the game against West Virginia last year). Our passing had been crisper, more precise this year compared to at this point of the season of last year. Hopefully we will more of that urgency today.

Again Luc's injury may mean more time for Westbrook and Roll if Howland decides to go small. Hopefully we will see better passing around the parameter and consistent effort to feed the post and attack Zona in the middle. Dohn has a profile of our guy in the middle today.

We know Bruins are going to get Zona's best effort today. They had been mouthing off earlier in the season, and now that they have been humiliated in three out of their last four games. Hey Lute apparently took away their post game pizza after their loss against Southern Cal (the horror). They will come out to prove themselves. I don't see them lollygagging around Pauley. So the Bruins will have to be alert, intense, and focused right from the tip off.

Let's get this on. We will have the game thread up later today.