Game day is here. We still have about 12 long hours to go through till we finally get to the tip-off. As expected lot of good reads today about our Ben Ball warriors in the local papers. Let’s get to them.
Dohn has the story on how our Bruins are ready to run:
All-American guard Arron Afflalo said UCLA's confidence remains intact for a simple reason.
"Because we had 26 wins," Afflalo said. "We know what it takes to win. It's not like we're a .500 team, a mediocre team. We've been an elite team all year long. We just had some minor struggles. We know what it takes to win."
Said Bruins wing Josh Shipp: "I don't think those two losses are indicative of our season. I think we just had a couple of mental lapses where we kind of beat ourselves."
As for being ready physically sounds like DC is doing fine and ready to go. Dohn again has the details on DC:
X-rays on Collison's ankle were negative. He was held out of several drills during the public practice session Wednesday night at Arco Arena, and did very little running.
"I did some cutting, some shooting (in practice) and it felt fine," Collison said. "It's not that big of a deal."
Daily News has more coverage on our Bruins, which includes kind of fluff piece from Steve Dilbeck. Dilbeck writes about how expectations for championships are back in Westwood and under Coach Howland UCLA has been restored to "the absolute upper-echelon of college basketball programs." Would have been nice to see those articles during the season when Bruins were storming through the Pac-10. But hey I will take it.
Meanwhile over at the LA Times Pucin still hasn’t owned up to her sloppy, blatant mistake from yesterday’s report. She does however has another human interest profile story on Coach Howland and his former team-mates from Weber State. Howland’s team-mates are rooting for the Bruins (not Weber State) and have some interesting stories to share about our workaholic Coach :
They also still occasionally get phone calls at two in the morning, when Howland is watching game tape.
"The phone will ring and he'll say, 'Condie, what are you doing?' I'll say, 'What every other normal person does. I'm sleeping.' And he'll just start talking," Condie said.
Johnson once owned a printing business near Weber State that did business with the school. But when he went to a Northern Arizona-Weber State game and was spotted rooting for Howland and against Weber State, a Weber State coach threatened to never again give Johnson's company work. (No loss, Johnson said, since he was doing the work for free.)
"He works so hard I get concerned about his health," Johnson said of Howland.
Also at the Times Pucin has a story on how the perception that Luc has regressed this season is over-blown. I have no idea why she waited till the end of the regular season to write this up. But hey better late than never I guess. Pucin notes that the drop in Luc’s scoring and rebounding numbers this season from his freshman season has been minimal, and she includes observations from former coaches and players (including Cameron Dollar) according to whom while Luc’s point/rebounding production may be down this year, his over all game has improved a lot. Here is Cameron on Luc:
"I've heard people say Luc hasn't improved," Dollar said. "That's crazy. When you watch film of UCLA you see his impact on the game in so many different ways. You have to watch how the team played against him. Teams had to make different adjustments for Luc this year. The adjustments made to contain Luc better left other players with different freedoms.
"Basketball progress isn't always a straight line. You want progress? His team just defended a league title. If Luc hadn't made progress that wouldn't have happened."
And that goes for the whole team. I am anxious to see how our team comes out tonight and specially on defense. Weber State as we have pointed out before is a team that likes to slow it down and play half court set offense. It will be interesting to see if they are getting good looks and open shots, like some of our opponents have in recent weeks when the Bruins came out a little flat in the first halves. They can’t afford to have those letdowns tonight.
Anyways … I will put up a tourney open thread up in a bit. I believe A is going to run the game thread tonight. Let’s hope our Bruins are ready to run.