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UCLA Basketball: Arizona Post-game Analysis

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The gang looks back at the Friday's Arizona game. Close but no cigar, and now we wait to see what the NCAA does.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

1) Other than the talent level, injuries and coaches, why did UCLA lose Friday's Arizona game?

chrissorr: Isaac Hamilton took himself out of the game with fouls. He only played 15 minutes. I don't know how this turned out to be a close game given that Norman, and possibly Welsh, were the only two Bruins who were outplayed. Tony Parker had 15 points but only 4 rebounds, and he made so many mistakes. The two Arizona rebounds off the late FT's were unforgiveable - though you're supposed to have a guard box out the shooter (I need to re-watch that one). Looney gave it all he had, but Ashley dominated him to the point that Parker and Welsh had to cover him when not in zone. Finally, McConnell did a great job on Bryce. The game plan called called for Bryce, Isaac and Norman to hit 3's if the interior was bottled up - the Bruins kept it even on the boards for 2/3 of the game, but them Arizona smoked them in the last 12 minutes.

JoeBruins15: Early fouls really hurt. The fact that Parker and Hamilton picked up some fouls very quickly sent them to the bench and resulted in our bench playing more than normal. While they played well, and, in fact, we had what was the most complete "team" performance of the year, they didn't play well enough for us to win.

Matt Garrido: We have won this season by gaining an advantage on the boards and we just didn't do that. Arizona dominated the boards in the second half (22-13), including 11 Arizona offensive rebounds. We also never adjusted to Arizona's increased ball pressure on defense, too often settling for desperation shots with under 5 seconds left on the shot clock.

Free90:  Arizona had 15 offensive rebounds.  During their 15-0 run it felt like there was no way to stop them because if they missed a shot they got the rebound, a missed three throw turned into a three-point possession. Looney being affected by the mask, Parker not having the stamina to compete in a high-intensity game for very long, and Hamilton (whose offensive game is clearly on the up-swing) getting into foul trouble were all contributing factors.

2)  Why did Arizona win?

chrissorr: They doubled down on the defense at the 12 minute mark and went on a 15-0 run. UCLA's offense was totally discombobulated for the rest of the game. NP4 kept us in. Also, they hit just enough 3's and FT's at the end.

JoeBruins15: Despite playing their most complete game as a team, the offense fell apart. The inability to get the ball to the big men in the paint was a huge problem for UCLA. That could be attributed to Arizona's defense, a lack of either proper in-game coaching by Alford and his staff or an inability to execute on the part of our players. Of these, it's probably a combination of the first two as I didn't see the team trying to get the ball inside.

Matt Garrido: Arizona brought another level of defensive intensity in the 2nd half. McConnell was great defensively all game. He was in Bryce's jersey for most of it. Ashley also brought his A-game and was probably the best player on the court last night.

Free90: To our credit, led by Powell we came back after the run and we put pressure on Arizona until the end but they made their shots and free- throws.  Brandon Ashley was the difference in this game -- he was terrific.  And of course Arizona beat us on the boards in the second-half.

3)  What was Steve Alford's worst strategy or tactic during in prep or during the game?

chrissorr: Isaac was covering Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. Though he had some success in Tucson, this is really an impossible assignment. Looney wasn't in the vicinity of the basket much. When Tarczewski fouled out, that was the time to double down inside.

JoeBruins15: Failing to get the ball inside to the big men.

Matt Garrido: Not playing more zone. We simply don't matchup in the man to man.

Free90: Continuing to play Hamilton in the first half after he got into early foul trouble.  Arizona played better when Tarczewski went out, like their more athletic big guys had more room to operate, and I don't think we adjusted to that.  I'm not sure what, if anything we could have done during the run--Arizona, from the time it was 47-40 us until it was 57-49 them, had 8 possession and 17 points with 11 rebounds including 6 offensive--we had 7 possessions, 1 basket, and 0 rebounds. Complete domination. Could Alford have come up with an answer to stop that? I don't know.  Arizona players were playing big minutes so I am not sure that it was fatigue that explains why we fell apart at that point.

4)  What was Sean Miller's worst strategy or tactic during in prep or during the game?

chrissorr: He came out shooting3's. It looked good to begin with, but history has shown that Arizona can't sustain it.

JoeBruins15: Definitely shooting too many threes.

Matt Garrido: Letting his team settle for the 3. UCLA may have given the blueprint for teams to beat Zona in the tournament: pack it in and let them fire away from outside.

Free90: Well, they certainly had trouble with our zone.  I think it is fair to put some of that responsibility on him.  Also, Arizona played better with a small line-up when Tarczewski was on the bench, but that was forced on him because of Tarczewski's foul trouble. Shouldn't he have figured that out himself? In fact, after the run was over he put him back in and we started to play better-not exactly brilliant coaching on his part.  The smaller line-up was killing us and he sort of mindlessly put Tarczewski in with 4 fouls at the time you would normally do so, without paying attention to what was going on in the game.


5)  What was Steve Alford's best adjustment during the game?

chrissorr: He went zone after the 11-2 Arizona lead, and that shut down Arizona's offense for a six minute stretch.

JoeBruins15:  I agree. The switch to zone that shut down Arizona's offense and led to UCLA's first half run.

Matt Garrison: It didn't work, but I liked him taking the risk playing Hamilton and Parker with 2 fouls. It was aggressive and I felt it was it a good call considering the situation.


Free90: I don't know if I can give Alford much credit for the zone--that should have been a no-brainer.  Eventually, he started showing some faith in the bench after gambling with Parker and Hamilton in the first half--I'll give him credit for that.

6)  What was Sean Miller's best adjustment during the game?

chrissorr: He went repeatedly to Ashely who know Bruin could cover, and posted Hollis-Jefferson on the smaller Bruin covering him.

JoeBruins15: His defensive adjustments with about ten minutes to go in the game. It shut down the UCLA offense and got Arizona the W.

Matt Garrido: He shortened up his rotation and played his best players extended minutes after his bench was dominated in the first half.

Free90: I can't give him credit for the smaller line-up because that was forced on him . But he did keep the pressure on us by going almost exclusively with a 6-man rotation and that was probably smart.

7)  Who was the most surprising player and why?

chrissorr: There were so many surprises. The biggest has to be Isaac Hamilton playing only 15 minutes. Tony was benched at least twice, which brings me to Thomas Welsh. This was his best game all-around. He was actually strong on the boards - there's only so much you can do against the best rebounding team in the PAC-12.

JoeBruins15: Thomas Welsh, Noah Allen and G.G. Goloman. Welsh scored 7 points and while Allen and Goloman didn't score, they played well and helped keep UCLA in the game.

Matt Garrido: The entire bench. We didn't have the same drop-off we had for most of the season when the bench came in. Welsh was strong the on the boards and GG showed some great instincts at times, including jumping over onto the inbounder at the end of the first half, leading them to the big end of the half 3 from Bryce.

Free90: Ashley being so good--I think I might change my opinion on who Arizona's best player is. Hollis-Jefferson was great on defense for them.  Our bench holding up pretty well and Parker being able to take Tarczewski were pleasant surprises.