I don’t know about you but the Wednesday before Sweet-16 is always the toughest hump day of the year. The Pac-10 season with its slate of Thursday/Fri-Sat games gets us in rhythm for the tournament season. However, around this time of the season when Wednesday rolls around, I feel like I have had enough of my share of stories, articles, analysis etc, and just want to get started with the game. And with that note let’s start with today’s roundup. The most important item on our plate is LRMAM’s health. According to Coach Howland an MRI on Luc’s left ankle this week showed ‘no damage’:
"Luc’s [final] was extended, it’s a hard class and the professor was nice because we were playing last week. Everybody else is done with the exception of that final today. I saw Luc yesterday; he was studying all day yesterday. He did go get his MRI, the MRI came back fine or I would have heard of otherwise by now. That was precautionary as we stated, we want to make that there’s nothing going on that potentially could be a problem. He had less swelling yesterday; he had severe swelling on Sunday. I looked at his ankle and said, ‘Wow.’ That thing was elephantitis. It was fat.
"I don’t know how [trainer] Carrie [Rubertino] would characterize it, but he can play. I think it’s important for him to practice these next two days and we do run the risk of him re-injuring it because are going to be full contact, we’re not going to be just an easy practice. We have a lot to prepare for in Western Kentucky, a lot of different presses, a lot of pressure, so we have a lot to do. I still have to finish my practice plan upstairs, because I really want to have a good practice today."
Speaking of preparation Coach Howland spent some time with JS on Monday and JS as usual sounds unflappable. From the Daily News:
"When he has any time where he's starting to miss more than one in a row - it's usually because it's a little flat," Howland said. "He just needs more arc on his shot. It's juts being on balance, and not fading one way or another, and shooting the ball with confidence, and that's where repetition comes in."
Shipp, to his credit, is neither short nor unpleasant in answering different variations of the same questions - has he lost his confidence? What is wrong mechanically? How maddening is this?
Asked if he is weary of all the questions, Shipp didn't bat an eye.
"I'm know I'm going to hear it, so it really doesn't matter," he said. "It is what it is. There's only one way to stop the talk.
That's all on me. I have to keep shooting the ball and knock some shots down."
"I think it's only a matter of time, and mark my words, Josh will hit the shots when we really need it the most."
And how happy are the Bruins about that?
"It should help us out," Josh Shipp said. "Me and Russell (Westbrook) like to get out and play in a transition game, so that should be fun for us. The half-court game, it's a lot of slow down and we get stagnant at times. It's definitely going to be good for us."
We are not going to get away with being sloppy tomorrow given the fact we are going to be taking on a very experienced, senior led team. From PE.com’s Jim Alexander:
"It definitely helped us a lot," Lee said. "In the huddle we had every senior speaking and being vocal out there, leading the team along the way. The younger guys, they listened and just followed."
That helps explain why mid-majors, low seeds and under-the-radar teams have their one shining moment at this time of year, and sometimes more.
"They've got an advantage in that those guys have been through a lot," Howland said. "They're older, more mature, and that definitely helps. Seniors have that light that goes on sometimes in their last year in college.
"That's one of the keys to why you see so many mid-major teams advance. The high majors lose guys to the NBA. That's our situation for the second straight year. Last year we had none. This year we have one whopping senior, Lorenzo (Mata-Real)."
Now I know why I feel a little lethargic today.