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Ben Ball Game Day Roundup

Bruins start a huge pressure-packed road trip tonight. Dohn sets the stage leading off with AA. The on court leader of Ben Ball warriors is not looking past tonight:

"It doesn't look good over the long haul, but each individual game is different," Bruins guard Aaron Afflalo said. "That team has the potential to beat you. If you look at each individual game, that potential to win was always there. But they're so young, and they don't have the experience of winning all the time. That can catch up with you."

Afflalo came up with another rationale for not peeking ahead to Saturday's game at Arizona.

"It would make absolutely no sense for us to go in there (to Arizona State) and think we have a victory," Afflalo said. "We're already coming off a loss. We haven't been that great on the road ourselves, only 50 percent. For a team with our capability and our talent, we should be much better. So we need this one bad."

UCLA is 14-0 at home and 4-0 on neutral courts, but the road is another issue. The Bruins traveled three time zones and 3,000 miles to lose at West Virginia on Saturday. They also split road trips to Oregon State and Oregon, and California and Stanford, winning easily against a much inferior team in the first game before falling on the back end of the trip.
I am glad AA has the right perspective. Bruins are not in position to over look any team right now. I am sure if they reviewed the ASU tapes of last four games, they’d note how they missed an open shot that would have beaten WSU (who escaped Seattle with a huge road win last night).

Coach Howland is worried about this game. He is specifically worried about facing the Sun Devil’s zone defense:
"That zone is a very good zone they play," Howland said. "They match up, they rebound out of it. Last month we were down 17-6 with them having the ball twice. They had a chance to beat Washington State at the buzzer. They had a chance to win both of their road games last week at the Oregon schools. They're a team that is a problem."
That was from the LA Times game day report today which also noted DC will most likely be playing tonight. If he gets limited minutes, expect Westbrook to log a lot of mins at pg. More on this and game strategy in BBR’s game preview:
Arizona State plays a match-up zone defense which has limited conference opponents to only 63.1 points a game (3rd in the Pac-10). Since they play primarily zone and force teams to shoot from outside, they have not blocked many shots - just 12 in conference play or 0.92 blocks a contest.

Its really on the offensive end where they've struggled the most. The Sun Devils average a conference-low 54.2 points a game on 39.4% field goal shooting. They are also hitting on just 29.5% from three-point distance.

New Arizona State Head Coach Herb Sendek has spent most of the season transforming the Sun Devils into his vision of a collegiate team. He prefers to play primarily an aggressive match-up zone defense and a passing motion offense modeled after the Princeton offense. Unfortunately for Sendek, he does not have the personnel to play his style for an entire 40 minutes and has tried different combinations all season.

Over the past four games, Sendek has gone with younger players in the starting line-up, and they have begun to click together. Last year's standout player sophomore Jeff Pendergraph is joined in the line-up by three freshmen, Christian Polk, Derek Glasser, and Jerren Shipp. Allen Morrill is the lone upperclassman starting.
As usual make sure to read BBR’s entire game preview. Let’s hope the Bruins come out with focused, intense, and get off to a great start.

Remember the tip off is set for an unusual 5:30 pm PST start tonight. We will have our usual game thread up later tonight.