Nothing like a little Ben Ball action to recover from the food coma. Bruins get back in action tonight by taking on Yale Bulldogs at Pauley tonight. Before getting to Yales let's get to some news and notes from last couple of days.
We will start with Westbrook. Pucin's report focuses on the sophomore sensation (who Dick Vitale amusingly left out of his list of sophomores to keep an eye on this season). His team-mates are more than impressed:
Westbrook still stands up too straight when he dribbles and he doesn't have the same natural sense of where to pass the ball so that UCLA's players have the best chance to get a great shot.
But, says Collison, who hopes to return to the lineup early next month having recovered from a sprained left knee, Westbrook is doing what Coach Ben Howland wants. "He's not making any big mistakes," Collison said. "Russell is playing solid."
Josh Shipp says Westbrook takes stock after every game, and although the sophomore gives the impression that mistakes and missed shots don't faze him, Shipp says he takes his mistakes hard.
"Russell is a guy who plays kind of streaky sometimes," Shipp said. "He plays off his confidence and to win a game like Michigan State, Russell will build on that."
Speaking of having no doubt, Dohn writes about Kevin Love's performance in his first five collegiate games:
"Both of those games were high-level games in terms of the size of the bodies, but he's rebounding consistently in every game," UCLA coach Ben Howland said of Love. "That's really a key statistic. The ability to get 16rebounds one night and 11 the other, that's hard to do. To get double figures on the board every night is incredibly tough. He did a great job of battling against a very good team."
As for the difference, Love said, "I would say the physicality, and it's a lot faster."
Love should get a break tonight when No. 2 UCLA hosts Yale, but his transition to college has gone smoothly. He is averaging 20.2points and 11.6 rebounds per game, and his consistency stands out. He's had at least 18 points and nine rebounds in each game.
Also, while Love has shown the ability to put other teams in foul trouble, he stays out of it. He has been called for just six personal fouls this season.
Senior guard Eric Flato (6'1, 185) is the Bulldog's leading scorer at 15.3 points a game. A long-range bomber, Flato is shooting 37.5% from beyond the arc. He was unanimously voted a first team All-Ivy League selection last season.
Yale starts a pair of 6'6 205lb twins, Nick and Caleb Holmes. The brothers play on the wing and take more than half their shots from beyond the three-point line. Caleb is averaging 14.7 points a game while Nick has been struggling from the field averaging 6.7 points but is the team's leading rebounder with 6.7 caroms a game.
At center, the Bulldogs have big senior Matt Kyle (6'10, 240) who is averaging 14.7 points a game while shooting 61% from the field. He scored over 20 points in his first two outings but struggled against Robin Lopez and Stanford getting into early foul trouble and only playing 17 minutes.
At the final starting spot is Ross Morin a 6'7 junior forward who is averaging 6.4 and 4.3 rebounds.
The Bulldogs mix up their defenses between a zone and man-to-man defense. Against Stanford they doubled down often on Robin Lopez while shadowing Lawrence Hill on the perimeter. Considering the Bruins size advantage inside and the presence of Kevin Love down low, it wouldn't be surprising if Yale to applied the same defensive strategy against UCLA.
We will have our Ben Ball open thread up later on tonight. Welcome back again everyone.