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Ben Ball Game Day Roundup & Notes

Ben Ball warriors start their home part of the Pac-10 season tonight against Washington. As the Bruins get ready to take on a team which has beaten us at Pauley 2 out of last 3 years, beat reporters are obsessing over our depth. Dohn has a huge article today pondering how Howland is going to find a way to compensate for Roll’s absence who was averaging more than 14 mins a game. Dohn implies that Roll’s absence may negatively impact the Bruins down the stretch referring to the Gators team from last two years that had 9 players averaging substantial mins. Coach Howland for his part is getting annoyed with beat reporter’s current obsession over the depth issue:

"We're going to get more (players more minutes)," Howland said. "It's a long season. They're going to get plenty more minutes, trust me."

And how will he do it?

"It'll happen," Howland said curtly.

Whether it starts tonight when UCLA (14-1, 2-0 Pac-10) hosts Washington (9-5, 0-1) remains to be seen, since Howland wasn't interested in explaining how Keefe's and Stanback's minutes would increase
I guess Dohn has no desire to be patient and let Keefe ease back into the game from his shoulder surgery and Stanback develop as a freshman. From the same article players clearly are not all that alarmed:
"It is what it is. I'm not the coach," Shipp said. "I'm doing fine out there and a lot of guys are getting minutes. We're playing hard and winning games, so it's tough to argue with it.

"We're comfortable with it. We work hard at conditioning. It shouldn't be a problem for us."
Someone should also clue in Dohn about the 94-95 team which ended up winning the tournament essentially with a 7 men rotation (became a 6 men rotation by Final-4 due to TY’s injury).

Anyway lot of people are going to keep an eye on Keefe tonight who averaged 4 mins a game in his first two appearances of the season. OC Register’s Kuwada focuses on Keefe today in which he notes Keefe’s 4 mins against Cal were pretty productive:
Keefe played only four minutes in the No. 5 Bruins' victories at Stanford and at Cal, but against the Golden Bears he hit his only shot and pulled down three rebounds, one at the offensive end. More would help the Bruins, who are playing essentially a seven-man rotation with Roll down and Keefe and freshman Chace Stanback working toward more minutes.

A scant four minutes a game certainly is not what Keefe had in mind when agreeing to come out of his redshirt.

"Obviously," he said, "that's not the ideal situation."

But that, too, seemingly would require an adjustment. Because of the surgery to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder, Keefe still has some restraints in the weight room and his strength and conditioning could become issues as they were through most of his freshman season. Before the surgery in August, he had built his body significantly, but much of that muscle through the chest and shoulders. That bulk and strength went away during three months of rehab work.

"I think it's going to take long time to get back to that, and, also, coming from having nothing and trying to build up muscle during the season is kind of impractical," Keefe said. "Usually, during the season, you're lifting to maintain what you have rather than trying to gain weight, which is a really difficult thing to do. But I'm comfortable with my strength right now, my conditioning, for this season, and then when the season ends Ill focus more on it.

"In the games, you've just got to use everything you have to your advantage. It's more the effort than the strength that you have. Just go hard, and see what happens.
Again the word for everyone here is a little "patience." It is just unrealistic and unreasonable to expect from Keefe to make heavy contributions upon his immediate return from injury. In his limited appearance this year he has already shown positive signs. And Stanback on his part held his own when he came in the Cal game, playing steady on defense, and chipping in to maintain the lead in the first half Bruins had built up early in the game.

As for the game tonight Keefe will have to come in and help out Love, AA2, Luc and Mata-Real take on the Washington front court anchored by Brockman. More on the game from Bruin Basketball Report’s preview:
Coach Lorenzo Romar has tried to emphasize defense with his team this season. After giving up 91 points in a loss to Syracuse earlier in the season, the Huskies have buckled down, holding opponents to just 56.8 points a game since that game. Washington will likely play a lot of zone defense and make the Bruins prove they can score consistently against it while mixing in some man-to-man for balance.

From last season's club, Washington lost center Spencer Hawes to the NBA draft, and sophomores Adrian Oliver and Phil Nelson who both transferred from the program. However, the Huskies return a bevy of talented lettermen and welcome some new players who are playing a big role on the team this season.

Coach Romar has shuffled the line-up all season in search of the right fit, the Huskies have started six different line-ups thus far. The current five starters are Jon Brockman, Ryan Appleby, Tim Morris, Artem Wallace, and Joel Smith.

Pac-10 conference star Jon Brockman (6'7, 255, Jr), is as wide as he is tall. The forward is averaging a double-double in points and rebounds this season. He is leading the team in scoring at 18.4 game and shooting 54.1% from the field while averaging a conference-leading 11.4 rebounds a game.

The physical forward is a big load in the low post who can knock around opponents on his way to the basket, in addition, he possesses a consistent midrange jumper. He will initially be guarded by UCLA'a Alfred Aboya although we'll likely see Brockman go head-to-head against Kevin Love in a true battle of the titans underneath.

The Bruins will need to put a body on Brockman to keep the junior off the offensive boards and check him down low with a double in the post often.
Read rest of the game preview here. Pucin has more on Brockman in her report today. She has one of those articles that actually doesn’t have to do much about the game instead focusing on a "what if" angle no one cares about.

Anyway, the game will be on FSN prime for those who are wondering. We will have the game thread up later on tonight.