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Ben Ball Roundp: Selection Sunday

The biggest question around our team heading into tonight's 3 PM Selection Sunday Show is not where we are going to be placed or what seed we are going to get, but the health of our team. Friday night's game ended with lingering health questions of DC and DG and we have some updates on both fronts.

First, let's start with DG and the news is encouraging (via the LAT):

X-rays of UCLA freshman Drew Gordon's left knee showed no serious damage, a team spokesman said tonight.

Gordon played seven minutes, recording two rebounds and a block, in Friday night's loss to USC at Staples Center.

The Bruins are taking the weekend off and are scheduled to resume practicing Monday. Gordon is listed as day-to-day.

As for DC, his injury situation remains cloudy (from the Daily News blog):

"Once we're 100 percent healthy, we should be fine,'' Collison said. "If you're asking me the question, 'Am I in pain?' Yeah, I'm in pain and all that."
What will a few days off mean?
"Hopefully, I can rest up and go from there,'' he said.

Not sure what to make of that. I hope Howland plans to give both JH and JA lot of time during practices this week and don't hesitate to take out DC early if his switch is not turned on early (due to health reasons) in our first game.

It also means, Bruins could benefit if they get slotted for their opening round game on Friday rather than Thursday. At this point every extra day DC get's to rest up helps him and the entire team.

As for the team's mindset they remain confident (at least in their public comments):

"At the end of the day, it's the effort that is going to keep us in the game," Shipp said. "Our shot wasn't falling, we missed box outs on free throws. That's all effort. Those little things, those are key down the stretch.

"They've got to be fixed. We can go on a good stretch in the (NCAA) tournament by playing hard. We come out with that effort, we'll be all right."

Hmmm. I think we have already made the point that Bruins didn't lose on Friday night because there shots weren't falling. They lost on Friday night because the other team simply came into the game with more focus and intensity resulting in a defensive effort we are accustomed to seeing from our team. Again JS's comments remind of comments we were used to seeing from players from other teams after they were done dealing with Ben Ball defense over the years. It is somewhat disconcerting. More from the same article in the Daily News on our guys' current mindset:

Shipp and Collison both said UCLA's lack of post offense isn't an issue, nor should it be made into one because it is too late to change offensive philosophy.

Rebounding concerns, which dogged UCLA much of the season, also don't figure to be remedied. If they could be changed, they already would have been changed.

"We just got to play," Shipp said. "We can't just start forcing things inside. We have to find a way to come up with the effort and match the other team's intensity."

Again it's surprising to even hear those comments from JS. This never was much of an issue in previous three years and it gives hints of a team that was perhaps somewhat coasting up until this point of the season.

As many have said since Friday night, the season isn't over. As discouraged as many of us are about the prospects of this year's team in the tournament, we still have what I believe the best coach in college basketball. I also strongly believe it doesn't matter where and who we go up against. If we lock down mentally and come into our game fully intent on playing our brand of Ben Ball defense, I will take our chances against any team in the country. The big question remains though is whether the team will find that focus and be able to sustain that game by game. Right now I honestly don't know the answer.

Anyway, we will throw up an open thread for 3 pm's Selection Show. I will leave it up to you guys to come up with tourney projections, insta analysis on bracekts etc. In the past we took it one game at time here on BN not looking ahead but I guess this year that routine is somewhat moot given our own team has been looking ahead the entire season.