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Ben Ball Game Day Roundup: Sustaining Momentum

Timmeh and his Trojies are coming into Pauley tonight. Unlike previous years we haven't had to deal with lot of the nonsense of "gap closing" between these two programs. Yet we have had to hear how the Trojies might be the "hottest" team in the conference. Following their last meeting in Pauley East Trojies have gone 5-1 (15-6, 6-3 while UCLA has had a record of 4-2 (17-4, 7-2). So those guys will come out and throw everything at us to make a season defining statement (sending all the local morons in the traditional media into a tizzy).

Per the Daily News the Trojans are looking to bottle up the Bruins around the permeter:

Last weekend, USC escaped with victories over Stanford and California, teams that rely on 3-pointers. In the two games, USC allowed only eight 3s in 29attempts (27.6 percent).

UCLA will be another test in that department.

"We had some breakdowns against Stanford in the first half of that game, guarded them better in the second half, guarded it well against Cal," Floyd said. "We're doing that better than we did early in the year.

"The problem is UCLA puts four guys out on the floor 90percent of the game. They can really wear it out from the (3-point) line. They really stretch you. When they drive it creates decisions for you as to where you help from.

"We're going to treat all of their guys with respect. Dragovic really made us pay last time we played and he's played exceptionally well. We were his coming-out party."

Well if the Trojans extend their defense in attempt to neutralize our three point shooters, as usual it will be up to our guards and wings to drive inside, attack the rim and create options for our team.

It will be up to our three seniors to take charge and show leadership by example. As noted in the LA Times the seniors had a special meeting with CBH following the Washington game in which Howland sent a two-fold message:

His message was two-fold: The team needed to show more intensity. Darren Collison, Josh Shipp and Alfred Aboya needed to lead that effort.

"Just that we have to be more vocal," Aboya said. "Approach this thing differently. Get everybody ready."

The center said that he and his teammates offered a suggestion of their own, expressing a desire to run more motion to get everyone involved at the offensive end.

More from the OC Register on what the seniors requested from Coach Howland:

According to Aboya, leadership wasn't the only topic. He said players suggested to Howland that a more up-tempo offense could remedy the stagnant stretches that caused the Bruins to blow leads in games against Arizona State, Washington State and Washington.

"Some of us felt like they were not involved in our offense, that we can play much better than we were playing before," Aboya said. "To free everyone and let everyone play, we figured running more motion was the most efficient way."

Well judging from our last two games it's pretty clear Howland and his seniors effectively communicated with each other. It will be up to them to continue that momentum from last two games by keeping the intensity up in defense and rebounding and use that aggressiveness to kickstart our offense.

As tasser and others noted Bruins will also need to play a very smart and disciplined game so that they don't get sucked in by any of the dirty tactics we have seen from Hackett and Washington this season. Also, sine they are in the conference of SPTRs, they will have to adjust to their calls early. Yes, it's not fair to the kids that they have to deal with incompetent and inconsistent officiating in this conference. Yet, it is what it is and the players will have to do their best to play through that nonsense.

The game is scheduled to tip off at 7:30 pm PST. We will have the game thread up about an hour before the tip off. Also don't forget today is national signing day. We will put up a signing day post/open thread which will allow everyone to follow all the festivities on the home page.

Here is to a fun day in BN. Let's hope our Ben Ball warriors can sustain the momentum from last week.