Now that we are on Humpday let’s start compiling our notes on our next opponent: Southern Cal Trojans. These guys are going to be a little more fired up for this game on Sunday which will pretty much define their season. How fired up they are going to be for UCLA? Well apparently they were thinking about UCLA prior to their last game against
"We have a big opportunity at home," guard Daniel Hackett said. "I don’t see why we can’t go on a streak."
Anyway, so Timmeh’s Trojies are going to be an angry bunch this Sunday night (why is this game on so late on Sunday night BTW?). They are going to come out with focus and locked in to make a point. And they are more than capable pulling off an impressive win (like a Lavin "coached" team). Here is the current rotation for Timmeh’s bunch:
Usual Starters -- F DeMar DeRozan, F Keith Wilkinson, C Taj Gibson, G Dwight Lewis, G Daniel Hackett. Key Subs -- G Marcus Johnson; G Donte Smith.
Blake Griffin hit in balls (via jt4643)
The other tough matchup for UCLA will be containing Taj Gibson. He scored his 1,000th career point in the win at
The matchup between JS and DeRozan will be interesting. DeRozan had 14 points and 12 rebounds in the win at
We will also have to be tenacious around the rims. Trojans are second in the conference in offensive rebounding. AA2, JK, DG, JS, ND, JH and the whole team will have to step up to make sure they are securing the ball on the defensive end and not giving up easy second chance opportunities to the Trojans. BTW ML might be available for Sunday night. Per Coach Howland doctors cleared him to practice yesterday:
"He's going to try and do a little bit, for a half-an-hour or 40 minutes, and see how it feels," Howland said. "I guess well have a better feeling of what he can or can't do after he works out this afternoon."
Lee said after the win at Oregon he was hopeful of playing in UCLA's next game, which is Sunday against USC.
Here is to hoping ML is fully healthy and can contribute. Having him would be a huge help.
The most interesting aspect of Sunday’s game to me is to find out what kind of defense Floyd will throw against UCLA. Last couple of years Floyd has thrown combination of junk defenses such as ""Triangle and 2" and "Box and I" to deal with the talent disparity against the Ben Ball warriors. In a Triangle and 2 defense, two defenders play man-to-man against the two best scorers, and other three defenders stay back in a zone. From what I can remember Floyd’s strategy worked against us at Pauley last year as Davon Jefferson played very effectively in the middle and his two defenders around the low blocks were covering the corner well. The strategy was very effective as it limited the Bruins to 33.3 percent shooting at Pauley (don’t forget LRMAM also went down with an injury). This year the Trojans are second in Pac-10 in FG Pct defense (.391).
Floyd has also show Box and 1 defense against UCLA. It’s the kind of defense that works against a team with an elite pg. Four defenders sit back in zone in a standard box set and fifth guy plays man-to-man against the elite pg. In other words, Floyd might stick his best (or the most tenacious) defender against DC to put all out pressure on him.
BTW if you live around Southern California head out to Costco Center Sunday night. We need to turn that place blue.
Those are some of my initial thoughts on Sunday night. I would specifically love to hear more from you re. Xs and Os on defense. As mentioned above, Floyd does like to throw interesting combination of junk defenses to make up for the talent disparity between these two teams. If you have thoughts on what we should be on the look out for and what our guys need to do to adjust and counter with more aggression and focus, fire away.