Tonight, the UCLA Bruins welcome the Hofstra Pride to Pauley Pavilion at 8 pm PT. Following tonight’s game, the Bruins will head to Hawai’i for the Maui Jim Maui Invitational Tournament starting on Monday.
Coach Cronin’s Weekly Press Conference
UCLA head coach Mick Cronin met with the media yesterday. He covered a whole host of topics during the session. He was asked if he had noticed that the statue of Coach Wooden is boarded up this week. He hadn’t noticed because of where he parks on campus.
He also was asked about how the students have received him and he told a story about how his friends told him how the students reacted when a UNLV player fouled out. He didn’t detail it, but I’m guessing he’s referring to the old “Left, Right, Left, Right, Left, Right...So long, Chief!” cheer, which his daughter liked so much, she was more into it than the game itself.
He also spoke about having to compete against HD televisions, which you can go to Costco and get “a 70 inch or 65 inch for two or three hundred bucks,” to get fans in the rest of the seats. Interestingly, he mentioned that he’s never been to Costco.
Coach, we’ve got to fix that. Email me and I’ll take you on a Costco run!
On the basketball side, he spoke about how the team is learning how championship programs compete. He mentioned how Jalen and Cody “haven’t been asked to be accountable for every minute they’re in there to do the right thing.” That’s an indictment of how Steve Alford ran the program if ever there was one. And, the scary thing is that it wasn’t intended as a swipe at Alford either.
Cronin also mentioned that he’ll be at tonight’s Beat SC pep rally, but “won’t be crowd surfing.”
But, I think the best thing he discussed was defensive effort. “Defenses is all try,” Cronin said. “It’s 80% tried 20% mental because there is strategy involved.”
“I’ve got to know what you do well and what you don’t do well. But. if I don’t care, I’m not gonna know if you’re right-handed or if you can shoot or you can’t shoot. It’s all try and then you’ve got to throw in the playing smart part.”
Here’s Cronin’s full media session, courtesy of UCLA Athletics.
The Hofstra Pride come into tonight’s game with a 2-2 record. They’ve beaten Monmouth and New York Tech while they’ve lost to San Jose State and Bucknell.
The most interesting thing about Hofstra is how many points they are scoring. They are averaging 86.75 points per game as a team and each of the team’s starters are averaging at least 11.8 points per game.
Senior forward Tareq Coburn leads the team with 15 ppg and is the team’s biggest outside threat. His .464 three-point percentage is higher than his overall shooting percentage which is .452. Guards Eli Pemberton and Jalen Ray are tied for second with 14.5 ppg. Overall, Pemberton is the worst shooter of the starting five with just a .389 shooting percentage and .250 from three-point range while Ray shoots .488 from the field and .421 from three.
Junior center Isaac Kante has the team’s best shooting percentage. He’s shooting .636 but, of the starting five, he also has tried the fewest shots.
Senior point guard Desure Buie leads the team in assists with 29 but also leads the Pride in turnovers with 12. I expect to see the Bruins attack Buie to force turnovers tonight.
Overall, tonight’s game should be a good test to see how well the Bruins’ defense can hold a pretty high scoring team. As long as UCLA puts in the defensive effort like we’ve seen so far, I’m expecting the Bruins to win pretty easily.