Ben Ball warriors are getting ready for the Pac-10 tournament. Given what happened in last year’s Pac-10 tournament and the whining directed against them from various corners of the country, there is no shortage of motivation for our team:
Freshman center Kevin Love wasn't part of the team that lost to the Bears, 76-69, last year, but he has his own motivation for playing well in the league tournament.
Love said that while watching and listening to the weekend-long debate on television and radio as to whether UCLA got lucky with officials' calls late in its wins over Stanford and California he decided the Bruins have something to prove.
"All that does give us a little extra incentive," Love said. "We're always looking out for something else to keep us motivated, especially now when it comes to crunch time. Anything we can get, anything that we can dig up and post around the locker room would be good for us."
Love paid particular attention to ESPN reporter Doug Gottlieb, who is from Tustin. "I'm not calling Gottlieb out," Love said, "but he was saying UCLA didn't deserve this and that, they didn't deserve [Josh Shipp's] shot, stuff like that."
One of the guys who will be key to our post season success: LRMAM. Here is Coach Howland on how important Luc is for our team:
"Luc’s a great player in terms of [playing in big games]. I think he’s played well for most of the year, especially when you consider that part of his year was hampered with the ankle injury, even though he played after being out a week, he was still not at full strength and it took a couple more weeks."
Coach Howland also shared his thoughts on the first game of the Pac-10 tournament:
He added, "We just played Cal, there’s a good chance we could play Cal — a 50% chance — and I think [Washington’s Jon] Brockman is on crutches. That obviously is a factor in that game, but I still think Washington, with or without Jon, will play extremely tough and that will be a very hard game to call. If he’s on crutches today, I’d be shocked if he played Wednesday. And one thing that is not good for sprains is to get up in a plane and fly three hours, which they have to do today."
He also noted that Cal "did a few little wrinkles that if we played them again we would be aware of that were kind of new for that game. Overall, I thought our hedges were decent. They did a few things differently to try and attack that differently." But he declined to be specific; maybe he will have some new things to show the Bears on Thursday if they meet once again.
So, posed with the idea of playing No.8 seed Washington or No. 9 seed California in Thursday's quarterfinals of the Pacific-10 Conference Tournament, two of UCLA's brightest stars did not hesitate in publicly wishing for a rematch with the Huskies.
"I would love to see Washington," Bruins point guard Darren Collison said. "I would love to see Washington, but Cal's playing real well. We lost to (Washington) and we know we didn't play as well as we could have played against them."
Collison shot 1for 8 and turned the ball over eight times in that loss. UCLA center Kevin Love was 3 for 8 from the field, and also saw Washington center Jon Brockman grab 17 rebounds.
"I had a very poor game myself, I remember Brockman getting 17rebounds and I remember us losing, so I'd like to hopefully play them again," Love said. "It would be a little less sweet if (Brockman) wasn't playing, but the ball off the face, everything that came with that, I would like to have a chance at Washington again."
Brockman, who leads the Huskies in scoring (17.6 ppg) and the Pac-10 in rebounding (11.5 rpg) is doubtful for tonight's game against the Bears with a sprained ankle.