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Maturation ...

Bruins are getting ready for yet another OMG the biggest game of the year ever this Thursday night. Ok seriously one of the many reason this Thursday night’s game is so huge because this will be the first matchup between two top-10 teams this season at Pauley. Oregon is ranked number 9 in the nation (they should be ranked higher). They are tied with UCLA for the top spot in Pac-10 (coming off a come from behind victory in a tough road game against Washington State), and the OC Register’s report points out they are going to be a little deeper than the last time they faced off against the Bruins:

The Ducks are 4-0 against ranked teams, having knocked off No.18 Georgetown, No.1 UCLA, No.10 Arizona and No.20 Washington State. Oregon also is deeper than it was when it beat the Bruins at home. Forward Malik Hairston, the Ducks' leading scorer last season, did not play in that game because of a right heel injury. He has played in the past six and is averaging 12.7 points and 6.0 rebounds.
Malik as our friends over at Addicted to Quack points out has been playing really well as he has been feeding off the confidence and aggressiveness of Arron Brooks.

So the Bruins are going to have their hands full, which means there will be no room for any monkey business. Case in point there should be no monkey business when they are on fast breaks. Here is Coach Howland in the LA Times:
UCLA Coach Ben Howland has also seen the tape of Sunday's game several times. There are myriad reasons he pointed to for the loss, from foul trouble to poor execution on offense to a superlative effort by the Cardinal.

But one particular play, a two-on-one fast break by the Bruins which Josh Shipp failed to convert into two points, left the UCLA coach frustrated enough to have a long talk with his sophomore swingman.

"The bottom line," Howland said, "is that instead of just sprinting to try to get the layup, he was getting his timing down to try to come in for a dunk. All we care about are the two points. We don't get anything extra for dunks."

Asked what Howland had told him, a chagrined Shipp said, "Be fundamentally sound instead of going for the highlight play."
I sure hope Shipp will use the Stanford’s game as learning experience that will be prevent him from doing that kind of nonsense in future games. Again this kid can really turn out to be a great Bruin if he pays attention to his coaches and his team-mates such as AA (who in the same article talked about his team needing to mature and grow up). Shipp has got to understand that all the highlight stuff will happen over time within the flow of the game. But there is absolutely no need and reason for him to get so cute so often disrupting the rhythm of the whole team.

Shipp is not the only one who has to grow up and improve his over all game. Another kid who needs to show more maturation in his game is none other than Luc. From Dohn:
UCLA coach Ben Howland spoke with Luc Richard Mbah a Moute after Sunday's game at Stanford and told the power forward to stop picking up silly fouls.

In three of his past five games, Mbah a Moute has been in foul trouble, culminating with his four-foul, 17-minute performance in No.5-ranked UCLA's loss at Stanford on Sunday.

Too many of Mbah a Moute's fouls have come not from challenging shots inside or fighting for post position but from being overzealous on high picks or double teams.

"I have to stay aggressive, but I also have to try to stay out of foul trouble," said Mbah a Moute, who vowed to change the trend for Thursday's showdown with No. 9 Oregon at Pauley Pavilion. "It's on me to try and limit my foul trouble. I'm going to try and make it a focus for me to stay out of foul trouble and try to stay aggressive."

Mbah a Moute played four minutes in the first half because of fouls and was on the bench for most of the Cardinal's game-turning 15-0 run midway through the second half.

"Both of the fouls he got early in the game against Stanford were fouls where he was moving and being too aggressive," Howland said. "He's got to try to temper that aggression a little bit. He's getting too close to guys, sometimes, when we double (team) and getting his hands on them."
I think our players will have to make some mental game-to-game adjustments as they go through rest of the Pac-10 season in relation to the way referees are calling the games. I don’t think Coach Howland is saying that Luc and co. needs to be less aggressive on defense at all. He is asking our guys just to be smart about how they are positioning themselves while maintaining their attack mode on defense.

It will be very interesting to see what kind of defensive scheme Howland uses for the Oregon game. I am not sure if it will be DC who will be guarding Brooks the whole time this time around. I’d imagine AA is going to get some time taking on Brooks. And this time Bruin guards will have to give Brooks a little space so that he can’t just whiz by them like he was doing against them in Eugene. And guys keep an eye on Brooks. He likes going to his right … a lot.

I also would like to see Howland use his bench against Oregon. I do believe the Bruins have a deeper bench than the Ducks. And I really hope Howland uses it. Sure he should start Mata. But if Mata gets off to a slow start, I hope he doesn’t waste time in bringing in AA2. And also lot more minutes for Roll and Westbrook, specially if Shipp is playing relaxed defense.

Lastly, we are going to need a huge assist from the Pauley crowd on Thursday night. If there was a game during when the alum section has to stand for the substantial part of the game this it. Come on guys. Let’s make it. Let’s get everyone of the 12,000 something Bruins in attendance rocking Thursday night. A huge win on Thursday will set a very good tone for the second half of Pac-10 season. Not to mention it will be a huge boost to the maturation process of this season’s Ben Ball warriors.