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Ben Ball News & Notes

Hey we are just a basketball school remember.

Forget the fact we have the number 1 ranked baseball team in America or perhaps the best football coaching staff in West (if not the entire nation) working to revive our tradition at the Rose Bowl. We need to get back to nitty gritty of following our Ben Ball warriors.

And the news is a little disconcerting. Pucin has an update on the health of Mata-Real and Luc who are still recovering from the concussions they suffered during Saturday’s game:

Because of the two head-rattling injuries, Coach Ben Howland said Mata-Real was doubtful when eighth-ranked UCLA (16-2, 4-1) plays a Pacific 10 Conference game Thursday at Oregon (12-6, 3-3). Mbah a Moute's availability is considered questionable.

Mata-Real took a charge against the Trojans' Daniel Hackett and his head was knocked on the floor by Hackett's knee. Howland said Mbah a Moute ran into USC's Keith Wilkinson on an offensive play.

"On the film, I've watched it a number of times, Luc went up, got his head caught in Wilkinson's chest, caught his head scraping across," Howland said. "Luc hit his neck, got a shot blocked, got it back and kind of keeled over. We didn't know he was completely out of it and there were four plays he normally doesn't make, three on defense, one on offense. The adrenaline took over and he tried to keep going."

Howland said Mata-Real still had a headache at 6 p.m. Monday.

"The doctors do computerized tests," Howland said. " . . . If the headache had gone away he could have worked out after 6 Tuesday. I'm not optimistic about Lorenzo."

Howland said by using the same computerized program Mbah a Moute was "a little further ahead," though Mbah a Moute didn't practice Tuesday.
The probable absence of Mata-Real and the questionable condition of Luc means Coach Howland will be looking to give Stanback and Dragovic more mins. And Howland once again was frank as he reflected that he should have give Stanback more mins against the Trojans:
"I should have put Chace in more," Howland said. "Josh [Shipp], Darren [Collison], Russell [Westbrook], they all played all the rest of the [second] half and that was just poor coaching. You can't expect guys to play that long. Some of the decision making was probably fatigue and that was my fault for not giving guys a little more rest."
I know I have said it a number of times before here on BN. But I will say it again. Can’t tell you how refreshing it is to see a Coach admit his mistakes in public (without being insecure about his ability) that he thinks will make his team better. More on Howland’s mea culpa from Brian Dohn:
Howland took blame for his coaching decisions costing UCLA dearly.

"I did a poor job in terms of preparation for this team because we were really out of sorts," Howland said. "Our transition defense was very poor. I can't remember giving up that many dunks or layups to a team in a long time. I can't even remember the last time."

Howland said UCLA will work on its transition defense this week, but also said shot selection was a problem late in the game.

"I didn't do a good job," Howland said. "I should have put Chace in, in retrospect, because Josh, Darren (Collison) and Russell all played the rest of the half after the first two minutes of the (second) half. That was just poor coaching. You just can't expect guys to play that long."
Well as I mentioned above I have no doubt Coach Howland and his players are going to work their tails off to correct their mistakes and get ready for a very dangerous Oregon team on their home court. Per Dohn’s notes in addition to extra mins for Chase, look for Keefe to get more time in our rotation:
"Hopefully, everyone's at full health," Keefe said.

"You never want to go on a road trip with a man down, or with two men down. If it does happen, that we're that short, I think I'm more than capable of stepping in."
Well Keefe’s game has been really coming around. So I am excited to see what he can do as he gets more and more comfortable in his role. If Luc cannot start, Howland will probably go with RW at 2 and move Shipp over to 3.

I will try to put together some notes on Oregon later tonight or tomorrow. Again this is going to be tough game as those guys themselves are smarting from a dispirting loss against Washington State. They are going to try to get better by knocking off a top-10 UCLA team (and I am sure their student section will be looking to rush the court … again).

So our guys will have to be ready and come in with the same focus and (calibrated) intensity they came in with during their first Pac-10 road trip of the season.