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Hoops Roundup: Injury Updates, Lamb’s Defense & Other UCLA Notes

<em>Can the Bruins D up against the Cats in NYC? <a href="" target="new">Photo Credit: b d</a></em>
Can the Bruins D up against the Cats in NYC? Photo Credit: b d

Let's pass on some hoops related notes this weekend as the Bruins get ready for a huge pre-season game against number 6 Villanova on Wednesday night in MSG. IMO as huge underdogs this game is a very cool win-win opportunity for the Bruins. We are going to be undermanned due to injury related issues to Malcolm Lee and Matt Carlino (more on them below). However, if the Bruins can come out, fight hard in this game with defense (which they didn't do in their last matchup against these guys in Philly), this game could get really interesting in New York.

It is unclear right now whether Lee is going to be ready for the Cats. Coach Ben Howland is being cautious as Lee is not going to practice at least till Monday:

"He's improving but to what level, I don't know yet," said Howland, who added that Lee would need to practice at least once before he played in a game.

"We wouldn't just throw him out there," Howland said. "He'd have to be able to shoot on it and have a practice where he can take some contact.

"It's hard to say still. It'll be unlikely he'll be 100 percent if he does play."

While Lee is being optimistic:

"In my mind, I'll be practicing by New York," Lee said. "I just have to hope the swelling keeps going down.

"It's a big stage, we're playing Villanova. Our team is short on scholarship players, so I just want to get out there and help my team."

As much as I want to see Lee go at against the Cats, I do hope he uses caution in this case. I rather have him come back fully healthy and ready to go then risk long term issues rest of this season.  In addition to Lee, Carlino's status is still uncertain. Per Howland he is "starting to feel better and better."  Guess we will find out more in next 2-3 days.

While we wait on the status of Lee and Carlino, Howland has been very excited about the defensive effort of Tyler Lamb:

Guard Tyler Lamb atoned for shaky shooting with superlative defense in his first three college games, prompting Howland to call him "the best freshman defender we've had since Arron Afflalo."

And Lamb's reaction to Howland's praise was even better:

"I haven't heard that. Wow. That's a great honor for him to say that," said Lamb, who played for Gary McKnight at Mater Dei. "It means a lot to me. Trying to play good defense, and having him put me on the other's team best player, it really shows that he has that trust in me."

Lamb is still trying to get it going offensively but he doesn't sound too worried about all that:

Lamb is in the process of trying to find himself offensively after struggling in the Bruins' three-game season-opening winning streak. Lamb is averaging just 4.3 points per game and is shooting 25 percent from the field, including just one-of-10 on 3-pointers.

"I don't let that get to my head," Lamb said. "You're going to make shots and you're going to miss shots. I just try to take the shots that are open and if it's not open, just pass to my teammates.

Those quotes came from Gold's UCLA notes, which also have some pretty cool comments from Zeke Jones about playing Pauley Pavilion.

As for Villanova, apparently they are so fired up for UCLA game that they kind of forgot they had a game this weekend. Their fans are looking forward to "put another beating" on Bruins because apparently they "hate Ben Howland" for making the sane decision to leave cold, dark, dreary and boring Pittsburgh for his hometown team which happens to be the greatest program in the history of this game.

Anyway, I am not sure right now what is going to transpire on Wednesday night (haven't done my homework reading up on the Cats) but I am certainly looking forward to find out how the Bruins are going to handle one of the biggest challenges during this hoop season.