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UCLA Basketball: Alford's Tuesday Presser

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Steve Alford held a teleconference Tuesday. As we've come to expect, the questions weren't hard-hitting, but we were hoping for some self-reflection on what's gone wrong thus far this season.

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There WAS a Tuesday press conference this week. It was a 9:35 teleconference - not in person.  I'll attribute that to the beat writers being in Texas for the bowl game - most of the questions came from Colorado and Utah. No analysis.

The themes seem to be how tough the schedule is and that they actually improved against Alabama. That was mentioned twice: he did specifically say once that he meant on defense, and technically, compared to the Kentucky game, Alabama was better. I will have to agree that the man-to-man is a bit better (no zone was played) though I wouldn't attribute too much of Alabama's 33% shooting.

1)      One common thread for the losses and what to do next: gain from experience, stretch of hard games, need to get out of the gate faster, first halves have been bad since the Bahamas (note: they were cupcakes before that), some defensive improvement in the Alabama game.

2)      On Kevon Looney: needs to stay out of foul trouble, 13 points and 10.5 rebounds is amazing.

3)      On Colorado: good inside/outside game, athletic, defense-minded, Scott big presence inside, the guards are big, they ran into scheduling problems like the Bruins (CSU, GW and Hawaii are scheduling problems?).

4)      On how important this road trip is: get to start fresh for the conference season.

5)      On Utah: he's not ready to talk about them -- he's focused on Colorado, ducked a Looney vs. Poeltl follow-up, great home atmosphere, they got lots of guys back.

6)      Any thoughts on last year's loss to Utah: too long ago to remember, they had a bad shooting game, difficult place to play, he was happy with the split.

7)      Is the PAC-12 down: schedules were upgraded since last year, teams are not as deep and many first year players to integrate.

I hope he's not serious about Utah -- it sounds like the game is already conceded. I do get that the second game of the road trip is tough and some of the prep has to be done on the fly after the first game, but this sounds extreme.