Yesterday, UCLA Bruins men’s basketball coach Mick Cronin met with the media in advance of tomorrow’s game in the CBS Sports Classic at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas against the North Carolina Tar Heels.
The Tar Heels visited the Gonzaga Bulldogs on Wednesday night and UNC lost to the Zags 94-81. North Carolina has now lost four straight and five of their last six. Part of the reason for that has been the fact that UNC has been without starting guard Cole Anthony who has been injured. Their lone win during that stretch came against Oregon. With respect to Carolina, Cronin spoke about the challenges the team will face:
The more they play without Cole Anthony, the more they’re gonna get used to what they need to do. They’re physical. They defend. They’re in the passing lanes. We’re gonna have to deal with that in our guards. We’re gonna have to do a really good job. We’re going to have to do a really good job of dealing with the things that they do defensively and, now,we got to keep them off the backboard and they’re a big, strong team.
Cronin also discussed the development of the team as a whole. Basically, he was talking about the process of him teaching the team to play his way and implied that it is going to take some time for the team to learn. Cronin said:
I know everybody in this day and age...it’s the microwave society and it is that’s just the way it is but the work we’re putting in now will pay off. It’s brutal. Sometimes, it’s painful in the interim but you have to realize that there’s is a value to four-year players....But the work we’re putting in now is going to payoff....You’ve got to give them a chance.
Today’s videos are courtesy of UCLA Athletics.
Meanwhile, Shareef O’Neal, Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Cody Riley also spoke with the media yesterday. O’Neal spoke about the Notre Dame game, which Cronin called his best game so far this season. He also talked about what excites him about playing for Cronin. “Defense hasn’t always been my thing,” O’Neal said. “So, I’m just glad I get to learn how to be a good defender because I know whatever level I decide to play at defense and offensive is both important.”
The Bruins tip-off against the Tar Heels tomorrow at 12 Noon PT.