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Ben Ball News & Notes

Let’s take look back at Sunday night’s game because it provided some encouraging signs as we head into our last 6 regular season game. As we mentioned yesterday Luc’s return had an impact. Kevin Love noticed the difference with Luc’s return to the lineup:

UCLA center Kevin Love said having power forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute back after missing the last two games was a tremendous asset in rebounding. Both players grabbed 10 rebounds and UCLA beat USC in the rebounding department by seven.
"That made it a lot easier,'' Love said. "I don't know what the outcome would have been if we had him in the Washington game, but he came in and played great defense. He got in there and rebounded and scored the ball well with some putbacks."
Another encouraging aspect of Sunday night was our effort in transition defense improved compared to the last time we took on those thugs:
When UCLA and USC met last month at Pauley Pavilion, the Bruins allowed 14 fast-break points. USC rarely had a chance to run in Sunday's rematch. "The one thing we did for sure better was our transition defense,'' Howland said.
"Transition defense was so much better than the first time we played. Very few points were in transition against us."
Again it is laughable how so many in the local media are having a hard time with giving our defensive effort any credit. People are grasping hard for all the excuses they can find about the Trojan injuries and how they are a "young" team even though they are band of misfits and academic rejects are as old if not older than lot of our upperclassmen. These are the same people who haven’t been taking into account how our guys have not been in full health all season as we have had to make do without having 3 out of our top 7 guys out of the lineup through a huge chunk of this season. Whatever.

Yes we still have issues to work through. Thursday night’s game against Oregon State should provide a good opportunity for us to tune up heading into the stretch run. No way we should take Oregon State lightly. However, that game should give an opportunity for players like Stanback, Keefe and maybe even Dragovic to go in and play some solid mins grounded on defense and steady play around the offensive side of the ball. Hope those guys are focusing on their defensive effort in practice this week earning them some PT on Thursday night.

If you are keeping track of rankings we are number 6 in both major polls. Doesn’t make a lot of sense to me having Duke and KU still ahead of us considering they each dropped games this week. But then again lot of these ballots were probably filled out before our late Sunday night game.

As for bracketology and tourney seedings Lunardi has us as number 2 seed out West:

Again for me its still early to get caught up in all this. If we just keep taking care of business on our end and defend our Pac-10 championship, this will shake out in our favor. We just gotta keep improving and polishing up our issues. We will be allright.