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Ben Ball Gameday Roundup: A Battle Against Complacency

This kind of post scares me. From Washington Husky Sports blog:

The last time Washington played UCLA it was pretty obvious that they were a much better team than Washington. Sunday's rematch in Hec Ed should solidify that the Huskies have fallen a notch or two since that game.

For UW to win today they need to hit foul shots, and shoot well from the perimeter. Since they haven't done that in Pac Ten play up to this time it is doubtful that will happen at home against UCLA tomorrow.

I expect the Bruins to be in the final four in March, they are a step ahead of the rest of the conference right now.
Uhm ... AGAIN ... I will remind anyone who is feeling comfortable about this game today:
  • Huskies (12-11, 3-7) have a 3 game winning streak at home against UCLA, including a 61-51 victory over the then-No. 2 Bruins in March 2007.
  • Huskies currently have a 3 game losing streak at the Bank of America Arena. However, they have not lost four consecutive games at home since February 2000.
So something has to give. Here is the preview from Bruin Basketball Report:
The Huskies are shooting 45% from the field while allowing opponents 46.2% field goal shooting. With the lack vertical size in the interior, teams have been able to go inside on the Huskies. As a result, Coach Romar has used a lot zone defense to protect the paint this season while mixing it up at times with a man-to-man.

Led by Jon Brockman's 11.3 rebounds per game, the Huskies are outrebounding opponents by a +6.7 margin.

Brockman (6'7, 255, Jr) accounts for more than 25% of the team's total scoring output with 18.4 per game. The wide-bodied big man is shooting 54% from the field. He scored 16 points and had 8 rebounds against UCLA in the first game and generally outplayed freshman Kevin Love who scored just 11 points on 3 of 6 shooting.

But Kevin Love today is a much different player from the one who played in early January. Since the game against Washington, Love is averaging 21.3 points a contest. This epic match-up between two of the Pac-10's best and most physical low post players is worth the price of admission alone.

The other big man along the Husky front line is Artem Wallace (6'8, 250, Jr) who starts but shuffles in and out with forward Quincy Pondexter (6'6, 210, So).

Wallace is a physical player with limited skill on the offensive end. He is averaging just 2.9 points and 2.1 rebounds in 12.1 minutes a contest.

Pondexter has had a disappointing sophomore campaign. Once looked upon as a cornerstone for the future of the team, he has struggled in all facets of his game this season, averaging 9.0 points on 42.9% shooting. He has looked lost at times on both ends of the floor.

The Huskies have used primarily a three-guard set all season with a rotation of Ryan Appleby, Tim Morris, Justin Dentmon, and Venoy Overton.
The challenge for our Bruins this afternoon is to battle any hint of complacency. Bruins are going to have a lot of trouble in this game if they come out over confident with the sense that the Huskies will give this game away. That kind of scenario could be disastrous. Because if the Bruins come out not as focused and tenacious on the defensive end like they have been in their last few games, the Huskies might be able to go on a run and get their crowd behind him. That kind of situation will not bode well because these Huskies are lot more talented than the Beavers of Oregon State (remember the Bruins came out a little sloppy against those guys on the road keeping them in the hunt early in the game).

More notes on today's game from the LA Times and the Daily News (nothing new in those write ups).

So hopefully the Bruins come out strong and with a purpose. If they can get out of a Seattle with another road win, it will set them up well for rest of the conference season. Game thread up will be up later today.