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Ben Ball Game Day Roundup

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Happy Saturday everybody. We have a busy day coming up today on BN with a double header starting with our Ben Ball warriors, followed up with a the football team's finishing off the 2007 season at some no name bowl game in Vegas.

Let's start with some quick notes on hoops. As mentioned yesterday, Ben Ball warriors are taking on a very young Michigan basketball team, which is going through the growing pains under their new coach Beilein (who has been inflicting some pains on our warriors through West Va last two years. Here are Coach Howland's thoughts on today's game:

Two years ago West Virginia was a really good team, having gone to the Elite Eight," Howland said. "That Gansey kid had 24 points (on seven-for-eight shooting), lit us up and made the big steal. Last year, obviously it hurt not having our starting point guard but we did not play well.

"The key for us is being aggressive with our passing, catching and dribbling. It's a good experience for our team."

Russell Westbrook had the worst experience last year. Collison had tried to warm up but when it was clear his shoulder was too sore, Westbrook, then a freshman, was given the emergency starting role. The nervous rookie was one for 11 from the field and struggled to untangle the Bruins' offense from the web of Beilein's zone.

"That was just one game," Westbrook said. "It wasn't my best and I learned from it."

Westbrook is not the kind of player who stews over bad moments. He said he can't remember his statistics from a year ago and that his confidence wasn't bruised by one day of struggle.
Well that Westbrook is all grown up and DC will be playing in this game. Not to mention we are going to have this guy name Love in the middle, who should help us out in dealing with that 1-3-1 zone.

More on that from Painter in the DN:
Beilein led West Virginia to a 70-65 win over UCLA last year and a 60-56 win the previous year at Pauley Pavilion. His 1-3-1 zone has frustrated the Bruins, and he's running a similar defense at Michigan. The Bruins' struggles against zones have been well-documented.

"We've worked hard on it in practice," Aboya said of the Bruins' preparation for a zone. "The offense is coming along and hopefully, this will be a breakthrough game."
A "breakthrough game" couldn't be more timely for our basketball team, which from some account is coming off a sloppy effort in our last game.

Once again I will be really interested to see how this comes out in first half against what should be a pretty determined and inspired opponent on the road. If our boys can come out with fire and total focus from the outset, it will bode well for them heading into the Holidays, and right before the Pac-10 season.

Game thread will go up right before the tip-off at 11 am PST (CBS regional broadcast).

GO BRUINS.