Well we get to start our week with another dose of Ben Ball (before the countdown clock strikes zero on Friday night). Obviously all the chatter is around our injuries. While many have drawn the parallel with our injury situation from two years ago Coach Howland is really not buying it. From the DN:
"Normally, you see injuries occur with contact."
Still, UCLA weathered those injuries and went to the Final Four.
Collison could play in the opener against Portland State on Friday and Shipp is expected to play as well. Roll will be out three to five weeks with a rupture of the plantar fascia in his foot.
"I'll obviously err on the side of caution, but there's a good chance I won't play Josh on Monday and hope we can beat Chico State without Josh, Darren and Michael Roll," Howland said. "Our guys are resilient. They're all supportive of one another. No one has a season-ending injury, so that's good news."
"I would say I'm a little out of shape," Love said. "I need to get up the floor more. We need to start running more in practice. I thought I did well, played 21 minutes, had a double-double. Good first game."
Howland agreed with Love and had no complaints about him.
"I think our conditioning's got to improve," Howland said. "I thought Kevin did a good job. Kevin made some nice outlets. He made one great pass. They had scored, Kevin fired it the full length of the court, Mike [Roll] got a layup. All those cheap little baskets, those are back-breakers. It's tough, and as an opposing coach you don't like it."
Shipp, who sprained his thumb during Friday's game and sat out much of Saturday's practice, has obviously picked up his coach's thought processes. After the Azusa Pacific game, Shipp said, "We didn't rebound as well as we wanted. Toward the end of the game we got sloppy on the defensive end. I do think we shot the ball pretty well. And this team's unselfish."
Last year, UCLA played a very tough Humboldt State which went on to win the CCAA conference championship. Chico State finished 11th place in the CCAA conference in 2006-07 with a 7-20 overall and 5-12 conference record.
The Wildcats return only one starter and six letterman to the team this season. Junior Justin Argenal (6'0, 175) is the team's leader and a solid backcourt man, averaging 9.1 points and 6.7 assists in 27 games.
Chico State averaged 69.5 points while giving up 75.1 points a game last season, in addition, they were outrebounded by an average of 4.8 rebounds a game by opponents.
Even without Roll, Collison, and possibly Shipp, UCLA should have a relatively easy time against Chico State. The one thing the Bruins can not afford in this game are more injuries.