Hey so Carolina lost last night! (as did Duke). I know those losses and what is going on at Carolina has no comparison to the disaster in Westwood, considering they still have a winning record and that little detail about Williams hanging 2 banners in last 6 years. Still for some reason that Carolina loss for some reason made me feel a little better about the debacle that is going on in Westwood season (even though there is no comparison between the two situations). Perhaps it has something to the constant tWWL hype around Carolina/Duke that made feel better about last night, a point RJS touches on here. Anyway, that's about it in terms of hoops related fun these days.
So speaking of debacle in Howlandwood, Bruins start a hopeless week with a homestand against Washington schools tonight. There is no reason to be excited about tonight's game. Yeah, Washington itself is having a very mediocre season. They are coming in with a 12-5 record (3-3 in the Pac-10) which is not impressive at all. They have also lost every conference game on the road (blowouts against Arizona schools) and also lost to Georgetown in the Wooden classic and against a mediocre Texas Tech team on the road. Yeah, they are some kind of road warriors all right.
If UCLA had an average basketball team, I'd feel pretty confident about beating these guys up in Pauley. They are only 1.5 favorites coming into tonight's game. The problem is we don't have an average team (we actually don't even have a basketball "team"). So not really feeling good about what is going to take place. Even if something good happens and we pull out another meaningless win thanks to another UDub road choke and some meaningless three pointers from Rago and co., giving everyone a little satisfaction for a period of 24 hours, that will not matter either. We are going to follow up any win with a pathetic, mentally soft performance against Washington State anyway, before getting embarrassed in the Oregon trail next week.
So with that uplifting big picture in mind, I did look a little into Washington. I don't know why I did or I care at this point but I guess it's habit. The Huskies are coming off two blowout wins after destroying Stanford (94-61 annihilation) and California (84-69 wipeout). None of those games were close at any point as Quincy Poindexter (the Husky forward in position to be Pac-10 POY) poured in 52 points in those two games.
Defensively Bruins don't have any answer for Poindexter. I am not seeing how any of our guys front court can handle him. Tyler Honeycutt perhaps can give it a shot but he got destroyed by physical Trojan forwards last week. The situation is uglier in the backcourt as I expect our guards to get eaten alive by Isiah Thomas, Venoy Overton and (groan) Abdul Gaddy. May be, just may be Malcolm Lee can do something to contain Thomas, but that's about it. Unless those guys take their road-choke pills again, I expect them to toy around with Anderson, Roll and Abdul-Hamid (who will probably get time because Anderson will either banged up or just look clueless). Some more notes after the jump.
Yeah, so I am not feeling tonight's game all that much. Lorenzo Romar on his part is being gracious about UCLA given his prior connections to Westwood:
"How would you define vulnerable as it relates to UCLA?" Romar said on a conference call Tuesday. "I would never say that about a team on its home court. Especially a team like UCLA that has so much pride and tradition. When we walk in there, we're expecting them to come out like gangbusters and get after us."
That's nice but doesn't make me feel any better. Neither does Rago's BS about "intensity":
"I don't know what happened against USC," Dragovic said. "We didn't match their intensity. I don't have an explanation for it. But I watched that tape for 2 1/2 hours. We need to learn things from it and get ready for Washington."
Sure he was watching tape. I'd bet he was too busy facebooking and setting up his night of clubbing out in Sunset strip. Anyway, here are some data points from the Pac1-0 conference to take in re. the Huskies:
- Washington has the number 1 scoring offense in the Pac-10 (80.7 points per game)
- Washington is number 1 in "rebounding offense") (39.2 per game)
- Washington is number 1 in turnover margin in the conference (+4.00)
- Washington is ranked number 1 in offensive rebounds (15.24 per game)
If you look through their KenPom scouting report and Pac-10 stats, you will see they are not that great of a 3 point shooting team. So again, it's a team that seems like UCLA should be zoning against early (if we were to have a prayer).
Our team just doesn't have the personnel to guard these guys man to man. I doubt zone is going to make a difference but who knows it could make it less uglier. Obviously the usual observations about UCLA needs to minimize turnovers and play their hearts out by holding their own in the rebounding department comes into play. But I am not holding my breath because even if we get the usual effort from Nelson, Lee, Roll and Honeycutt, we are not going to get anything more than token ones from other usual suspects who will get back to being what they are - scrubs - in the following games.
Couple of other notes on the Huskies: Justin Holiday had a mild concussion in the Cal game. He is still going to start tonight. It's not going to matter much anyway because they have a deep team using a 9-11 man lineup. Also, Isaiah Thomas is looking to take a picture with Urkle (aka Jaleel White) if he is around Pauley. Not sure if IT will be able to swing that considering Jaleel might not want to waste his time watching Ragovic and co. disgracing the four letters ... again.
The game thread will go up about half an hour before tip-off (7:30 pm PST). Fun, fun, fun.