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Ben Ball Gameday Roundup & Notes

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I know we have some coaching search related notes to get to. But we also have our last non conference basketball game tonight so I thought I throw up some news and notes to start the day.

As we head into this last OOC game our guys are still working on getting healthy. Let's start with Collison. Pucin from the LA Times has the report:

In practice Thursday, Collison was injured when he stepped on the foot of fellow guard Russell Westbrook. Collison characterized the injury as "a tweak" and said it was nothing more than an annoyance. He said that on the bright side, the discomfort he felt in his ankle took his mind off the bothersome knee brace he has worn for a month.

The sprained knee doesn't hurt anymore, Collison said, but the brace is a hindrance.

"I'm starting to trust the knee a lot more," he said. "I'm looking forward to taking the brace off before the first Pac-10 game. So [today] might be my last day with the brace on. That would make me extremely happy."

Collison said the brace has affected his defense. "I'm not having the full extension the way I want," he said. "I'm still a step slow. I can make it quick but not a step quicker than usual because the brace is heavy."
DC wants to play tonight.

I don't know. I think the smart thing for him would be to sit this one out tonight. But then again these are uber competitive athletes. So he might just give it a test ride today.

One guy who is not taking in chances: Mata-Real (from the DN):
Bruins point guard Darren Collison (ankle) expects to play today in UCLA's final non-conference tune-up against UC Davis (5-6), but center Lorenzo Mata-Real said his sore groin could keep him on the bench, especially with the fifth-ranked Bruins (11-1) beginning Pacific-10 play Thursday at Stanford.

"We'll see how it's feeling before the game but I want to get rid of (the pain) 100 percent," Mata-Real said. "The smart thing is to get it healthy. I want to be 100 percent for Stanford."
Couldn't agree with more with LMR. We are going to need him at 100 percent when we take on those Stanford bigs next week.

As for UC Davis, Bruin Basketball Report has the preview:
UC Davis is a ball control team which will try to maintain a slower tempo and keep the Bruins out of transition. They average just 66.9 points a game while shooting 44.9% from the field including 37.3% from three-point distance. Opponents have outrebounded the Aggies this season by a 5.9 margin.

It is a young ball club which does not return any seniors this season.

UC Davis is led by returning starting guard and top scorer Vince Oliver (6'3, 195, Jr). He's averaging 13.6 points on 38.7% shooting. Oliver grew up in nearby Inglewood and played his prep ball at Loyola High. He has scored 19 points in three games this season.

Two other Aggies score in double figures; guard Shane Hanson (6/7, 230, So) averages 11.4 points, and forward Kyle Bruculleri (6'8, 230, Jr) is at an even 10.0 a game.

They also have imposing 7'2 285 lb junior center Michael Boone out of Loma Linda on the roster, but he has been limited to just 5.3 minutes a game.

UC Davis is not expected to give UCLA much trouble on Saturday, which is unfortunate since the Bruins could use some additional practice playing against stiffer competition prior to the start of Pac-10 play.
Per BBR's latest post Coach Howland noted that UC Davis plays that patient Princeton style offense. And that's the kind of offense often taste the patience of UCLA caliber athletes on the road. So it could turn out to be the perfect tuneup before we head up to the Bay Area next week.

We will have our open thread (4:30 pm PST, FSN Prime Ticket) up later this afternoon.

GO BRUINS.