Tipoff: 7:30pm, TV (FSN Fox Sports NW), Radio, Satellite, Internet (Live Audio/Video & Stats)
So the first b**** slapping of the weekend games the Oregon men's basketball team will have to endure should come from the hand of UCLA this evening. Now, this is not your father's UCLA team that we've all come to love. UCLA has been a staple in the diet of the NBA feeding frenzy from the Pac 10 over the last couple of years leaving them another rather young and inexperienced team (only 3 seniors).
However, Ben Howland has finally started to get his guys playing better as of late. UCLA has won six of their last nine games. They also have five guys averaging double digits. Oregon will have a hard time trying to figure out who to concentrate on to keep the game close as lately UCLA has done a good job of moving the ball to find the open shooter. I would expect Oregon to play more ¾ court press and ½ court zone throughout the game. UCLA has some inexperienced ball handlers and is 7th in the Pac 10 in three point shooting. Plus, the more big guys Oregon can keep on the floor and out of foul trouble the better Oregon will be.
At this point in the season I am not convinced that Oregon should even attempt to play up tempo again. I would rather see Oregon walk the ball up, pound it down low and on defense fall back into their 2-3 match-up zone and make teams beat them deep (except Cal, that one didn't work out too well). Oregon has a distinct advantage down low in the Pac this year, and the sooner they realize it and try and exploit it, the better.
Keys to the Game
New look same dead team. Oregon will don their new Twizzlers jerseys this evening because apparently there is one kid in Vietnam who will be watching the game who isn't aware of breast cancer. Let's hope they find a new game plan to go with the new look.
For the love of juju GO INSIDE! I don't know how many times I can continue to write this. UCLA is not as physically dominant as they have been in the past down low, and Oregon should try everything they can to try and attack inside. I swear to god, if I see a three point shot hoisted in the first 15 seconds of the shot clock in the first half, I will personally drive to Eugene and steal everyone of those player's Mac Books, guitars and projector screens.
Have a lead in the game that isn't 2-0. After not holding a lead for two games in a row, then holding only a 2-0 lead for two games in a row, I would really like to see Oregon be competitive late in a game. I could ask for a fast start, but that hasn't worked out the last couple of games. Instead I'm only going to ask Oregon to show some heart, scrap, and fight like hell to be competitive late in a game.
As Always, enjoy the stats: