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Ben Ball Game Day Roundup

Let's get back to our other major revenue athletic program, led by the Anti-Dorrell of college athletics. Coach Howland and his Ben Ball warriors are getting ready for the CBE classic, which tips off tonight at Pauley. Bruins take on Youngstown St. tonight, and if they can get by that game, they will get to take on the winner of the Weber St. v. Cal State San Bernardino tomorrow night at Pauley.

Everyone is wondering how DC is doing. Coach Howland has some answers on DC's health and the state of our back court:

"It's feeling better," Howland said. "It's a progression of things now. [Today] will be the treadmill run. Assuming that the doctor releases him, Tuesday will be lateral slides. Wednesday it will be stops and starts with transition movements on the floor. Hopefully by Thursday he'll be able to practice."

In the meantime sophomore Russell Westbrook will get his second start at point guard. "For him it's just more and more experience," said Howland.

Howland said Westbrook had too many turnovers (six) in a season-opening win over Portland State on Friday. "But he did a very good job defensively."

When Collison is healthy, Howland said, he is excited about the defensive pressure opposing point guards will feel.

"If you really study the film," Howland said, "people will be open a moment but with the good pressure on the ball we give you on the point, guys [inside] can recover to the open man."
That account was from Diane, who reports DC may be back next week.  While DC is out, RW will get more experience at the 1 spot, and it looks like it will take him some time. And folks shouldn't worry too much about it. I remember when Watson had to take over for Baron Davis at the 1 spot, after playing at the 2 for two seasons, it took him a while to get acclimated to play the point. Unlike Watson who was playing without a head coach, RW will have Howland to learn from, and it will be fun to see him develop as he gets extended mins in the next few games.

The other kid who is getting used to a new position is Luc. He had an off game at the 3 spot last time out. From the OC Register:
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute has led the Bruins in rebounding the past two seasons and pulled down a team-high 117 offensive rebounds as a freshman and 87 last season.

He had one rebound against Portland State, on the defensive end.

Mbah a Moute is playing the small forward position while Michael Roll is out because of a ruptured plantar fascia in his left foot, and Howland said the 6-8 junior should have more success rebounding against smaller perimeter players.

"It should be easier for him to get those offensive rebounds," the Bruins coach said. "He's got to come from the perimeter and establish position."
And Coach Howland doesn't sound too worried about Luc adjusting. From Diane again:
Howland also said he was not worried about the play of junior forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, who is adjusting to playing small forward after being moved from power forward.

"There are so many things that are different defensively and offensively," Howland said. "Defensively he's trailing and chasing guards instead of extending screens and helping out the forwards."
Luc and Russel will get another opportunity to adjust in their new roles today. As mentioned above Bruins are taking on Youngstown State, and the ever diligent KS Wong from BBR has this preview on the Penguins:
The Youngstown State Penguins of the Horizon League open their season with this game against the Bruins.  They finished 14-17 in 2006-07, the most games the school has won since the 2000-01 campaign.

The Penguins lost their two leading scorers from last season, but they return seven lettermen and add a number of freshmen and transfers to the club.

The top three players returning for the Penguins are Byron Davis, Jack Liles, and John Barber

Senior guard Byron Davis (6'2, 180) is the team's top returning scorer (8.6) and assist man (3.9).  He is moving from the point guard slot to the two-guard position this year.

The top returning post man for the Penguins is forward Jack Liles (6'8,240,Jr) who averaged 7.4 points and 6.4 rebounds a contest last year.  He is a solid frontcourt player who shot 55.6% from the field and led the team in blocks with 36 in the season.

Senior John Barber (6'7, 220) averaged 7.6 points and 4.7 rebounds a game as the team's sixth man last season.  A valuable player who does what needs to be done for the team, either it be scoring or grabbing a key rebound.  Barber will move into the starting line-up this season.
In case you are wondering what kind of mindset our Warriors are in, given the rash of upsets in college hoops, take note of this from the Register report linked above (emphasis mine):
There have been some major upsets already in college basketball, something Howland said he already had addressed with his team. He didn't start when Grand Valley State took down Michigan State in an exhibition, when Gardner-Webb won at Kentucky or Belmont won at Cincinnati, snapping the Bearcats' streak of 42 consecutive victories in home openers. "I talked to them starting with Appalachian State over Michigan (in football)."
I know we keed when we say may be we should have Coach Howland take over the football team to save it from the Doofus. But may be we are not all that off.

Anyway, the game is on tonight at 8 pm PST. We hear Steve Lavin is going to show up at Pauley tonight for the ESPN2 broadcast. For everyone who are heading to Pauley tonight, I'd urge you that you let him know exactly how you feel about the way destroyed and decimated our basketball program. He should NEVER FEEL WELCOME in the House that Coach Wooden built, and Coach Howland has rebuilt, after he burned it into the ground.

Again make sure to let him know how you feel. Booooo the heck out of him when his ugly mug shows up on the big screen, and if you are near him just let him know in a polite and measured tone that he is an incompetent basketball coach and you are glad that he is no longer around to ruin our basketball program.

Lastly per the beat writers more good new from the injury front. Roll could be back for the Texas game (12/2) while Keefe might be eying the game against Idaho St (12/15) for his 2007-08 debut. We can't wait but they should make sure they are completely ready before joining rest of their team-mates.

We are going to have an open game thread up later tonight featured by some great shots courtesy of Jack Rosenfeld.