National spotlight? Check. Put on a good show? Check. Star power? Check.
After last night’s thrilling comeback victory against Oregon, the national media couldn’t churn out articles about UCLA’s star freshman Lonzo Ball fast enough. Can you blame them? In Los Angeles, you need to be fun, sure; but you also need a star.
As he picked up his dribble, Ball’s back foot stood closer to the midcourt UCLA logo than to the 3-point arc. Yet none of his teammates even raised their arms for a pass; they know what their point guard can do. "LONG 3," announcer Dave Pasch intoned. "Of course!"
Kram also had five takeaways from last night’s double-header—you’ll have to skip past some analysis of what I considered the "undercard" matchup on tobacco road to get to some thoughts on the Bruins’ balanced offense.
The Bruins, meanwhile, chipped away at the deficit with their characteristically balanced offensive approach. Six different players average double figures in points this season, and their equal-opportunity offense rolled on against the Ducks. All seven Bruins who played at least five minutes took seven or more shots, with each of them scoring between eight and 15 points. For comparison, Brooks and Dorsey combined for nearly half of Oregon’s total shots (34 of 69).
More from The Ringer, this one with a focus on the NBA draft and some more Lonzo vs. Markelle analysis (they still have Lonzo going No. 2 behind Fultz on their draft board).
Of Lonzo’s seven baskets in the game, four were 3s, one was an alley-oop, and one came in transition. He scored only once when he was driving the ball in the half court. His inability to create his own shot off the dribble has been one of the biggest knocks on him all season. While taking almost all of his shots from the 3-point line and at the rim is great for his efficiency, an NBA point guard who can’t dribble into his own shot becomes pretty easy to defend.
Jeff Eisenberg at Yahoo focused his column on Ball’s defense, and the switch to covering Brooks that changed the game for UCLA.
Ball stymied his bigger, stronger adversary with quick feet and active hands the rest of the game, holding him scoreless on 0-for-5 shooting during the final 15 minutes. Without that mismatch to rely on, Oregon’s offense suddenly became stagnant and managed just 12 points in the final 12 minutes, giving UCLA’s high-powered offense the opportunity it needed to rally.
On Saturday, the tournament committee, jealous of the meaningless weekly CFB Playoff committee shows, will release their would-be top-16 seeds if the tournament were being seeded today. ESPN’s Joe Lunardi, as of this writing, still has the Bruins as a 4-seed in the south region.
ESPN’s Pac-12 blog breaks down the non-conference schedules of conference teams in the upcoming 2017 season. The Bruins’ slate is the second-toughest in the conference.
Josh Rosen rallied the Bruins to overtime against the Aggies in College Station last year, but ultimately fell short in the season opener. This time, UCLA gets Texas A&M in the Rose Bowl to open things. Hawai'i, coming off its first bowl win in 10 years, has improved greatly under new coach Nick Rolovich. Memphis has quietly won 27 games over the past three seasons, and the Bruins must travel across the country to face the Tigers.
It was less good news last night for the #4 UCLA men’s volleyball team last night in Palo Alto who lost in five sets to #8 Stanford.
The Real MVP Last Night IMO
I mean, credit where credit is due, am I right?
I am SCREAMING at the UCLA Bruin dropping his shorts & smacking his ass at Oregon's FT shooter pic.twitter.com/tbbVlMBx9e— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) February 10, 2017
Bravo, Joe Bruin!