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Ben Ball Roundup

Well, the little note about tomorrow's UCLA-Oregon State game not being on television has become a story. Coach Howland is not very happy about it. Here is the scoop from the LA Times:

The undefeated UCLA's men's basketball team, ranked first in the country in the Associated Press writers' poll and the ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll, plays its first Pacific 10 Conference road game Thursday against Oregon State and the game won't be televised.

Not in Los Angeles, not in Corvallis, Ore., not even via streaming Internet. There will be no TV cameras in Gill Coliseum.

"That's a surprise to me," Coach Ben Howland said Tuesday after the Bruins (13-0, 2-0) had finished a 2 1/2 -hour practice at Pauley Pavilion. "I would have expected us to be on television."

According to UCLA spokesman Marc Dellins, the game between seventh-ranked Arizona and No. 24 Washington at 7:30 p.m. was chosen by Fox Sports, which has the Pac-10 television contract, as a national TV game.

Dellins said that when UCLA approached Fox about getting a waiver to televise the Bruins, Fox declined. And when UCLA approached Oregon State about moving the game from 7 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., so as not to conflict with Fox's national game, Oregon State declined.

Howland said he had no idea the game wasn't going to be televised.

"That's disappointing," he said. "We should get that changed."

Three other UCLA games -- California at Pauley Pavilion on Feb. 22, UCLA at Washington State on March 1, and UCLA at Washington on March 3 -- are listed on the television schedule as "wild-card" games, meaning Fox has until 12 days before each to decide what will be televised.
Coach Howland has every right to be upset. First, I just don't see how the game of an Arizona team, which UCLA clowned three times last season, is more important than UCLA basketball. Secondly, I sure don't get what problems OSU had in moving up the game time to accommodate the TV schedule.

Lastly, Coach Howland should not hold back in his reservations in these kinds of issues. The Pac-10 TV contract is such a joke. The whole management of this conference is just a total joke. It's just too bad there is not another credible conference on the West Coast that UCLA could jump to. If the administrators in the UCLA athletic department were aggressive, they'd move to insert a clause in the Pac-10 basketball TV contracts, which would allow the conference to show the Bruin game to at least the LA audience, you know the number 2 media market in the country.

BTW, my bad on my last note on the UCLA polls. As one of the commenters pointed out, it was actually a reporter, not a coach, who didn't vote for UCLA as the number 1 team in the country. More from Pucin:
UCLA received all 31 of the first-place votes in the coaches' poll and 71 of the 72 first-place votes in the AP poll, where John Kaltefleiter of the Macon Telegraph in Macon, Ga., voted North Carolina first and UCLA second.
So, some tool from Georgia is the culprit, not the weasel from cross-town. Although I won't put it passed the weasel to do something like that.

Elsewhere, the OC Register’s Kuwada notes how Bruins are getting ready for the zone:
The UCLA basketball team practiced for two hours Tuesday, and at least part of it was spent working against zone defenses, which Coach Ben Howland said the Bruins are likely to see at some point Thursday at Oregon State in their first true road game this season. […]

Rather than trepidation, the Bruins are looking forward to it with anticipation.

"At this point right now, I think everybody has seen our push game," point guard Darren Collison said. "Our push game has been real successful throughout the whole season, so if they want to slow up and play zone, that's cool for us, because with Mike Roll shooting the ball the way he's doing and you've got Luc (Mbah a Moute) shooting the ball, it's going to make it a lot easier for me."

UCLA has players who can hit open shots - if they can get them. The Bruins have five players hitting 40 percent or better from behind the three-point line.

In two Pac-10 games, Collison (5 of 9, 55.6 percent), Arron Afflalo (8 of 15, 53.3), Roll (4 of 8, 50.0) and Mbah a Moute (1 of 2) have hit 50 percent or better.

The problem has been attacking the zone properly and consistently.
Well, that is why Coach Howland is focusing on it during practice. Too bad we are not going to get to watch to see whether the Bruins are effective in busting the Beavers’ zone tomorrow night.

Elsewhere, there are some hoop notes from the Daily News.

We will have more on tomorrow's TV-less game later.