Saturday, January 14, 2006

UCLA vs. Washington - Game Preview

The No.11/No.12 UCLA Bruin team plays host to the visiting No.13 Washington Huskies at Pauley Pavilion on Saturday, Jan. 14.

UCLA (14-2, 3-1) received more bad news yesterday on the injury front when an MRI on Lorenzo Mata’s right knee revealed a nondisplaced tibial plateau fracture. The athletic department reported he is expected to be out at least 6-8 weeks.

Mata had started the Bruin's last six games and appeared to be settling into his role on the team. On the season he was averaging 4.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks per game, but most importantly he was providing the Bruins with an interior defensive presence.

Ben Howland’s team is already without Josh Shipp (hip/out for season), Cedric Bozeman (shoulder), and Michael Fey (ankle).

Senior center Ryan Hollins (groin) is set to return for tomorrow’s game but will be limited to 15 minutes of play.

Freshman Ryan Wright, who has started two games this season, will likely get the start against the Huskies. Wright who sparked the Bruins in earlier preseason games has struggled as of late.

In the Stanford game Wright sprained his ankle but did not miss any action; however, he has since only averaged 3.2 points and 1.0 rebound per game since the injury. With Mata and Fey injured, and Hollins playing limited minutes, the Bruins will need better rebounding production from Wright.

Alfred Aboya has played some minutes at the center position this year but has averaged only 10 minutes per game and is needed to back-up Luc Richard Mbah a Moute at the power forward position.

After scoring 10 points in 32 minutes against Washington St., freshman Michael Roll looks to continue to contribute. Coach Ben Howland has been very pleased with Roll’s development on defense. Matched against the Cougars’ 6’10 forward Robbie Cowgill, Roll held him to only 6 points in the game.

The Washington Huskies (13-2, 2-2) come into Pauley Pavilion after defeating the USC Trojans 86-77 on Thursday. In that game, Huskies senior Brandon Roy scored 23 points and pulled down 12 rebounds, and senior Bobby Jones scored 22 points and grabbed 9 rebounds. The Huskies outrebounded the Trojans by an astounding 45-19 margin.

Coach Lorenzo Romar’s Huskies team started strong with a 10-0 record with an average victory margin of +25 in those games, but some questioned the quality of their opponents and the fact all the games were in Seattle.

Since Pac-10 play began the Huskies are 2-2 in conference play with losses at home against Arizona and Washington St.

The Huskies lead the Pac-10 in points (85.7), offensive rebounds (15.7), and total rebounds (40) per game. The Huskies have six players who average more than 4 rebounds per game, including their 5’11 point guard.

The Huskies play an up-tempo game preferring to run at most opportunities, yet they don’t tend to make many turnovers. They lead the league with an assist-turnover ratio of 1.27. In comparison, the Bruins are near the bottom of the league with a ratio of 0.72.

Preseason Wooden Award nominee guard Brandon Roy (Sr, 6’6, 210) is the overall leader of the team. He is averaging 19.4 points , FG 52%, and 5.6 rebounds per game. Roy was primarily known as a slasher-type player last year but he has dramatically improved his outside shot by hitting on 51% of his 3-point shots this year.

Senior forward Bobby Jones (6’7, 215) is averaging 11.4 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. He has struggled from the 3-point line this year hitting on 28%. Jones does score well under the basket and from mid-range and is the Huskies best defender. Coach Romar will no doubt assign Jones to guard UCLA’s Arron Afflalo.

Power forward Jamaal Williams (Sr, 6’6, 235) is undersized for his position, but he scores well on the blocks and draws a lot of fouls on his defender which will be significant considering the Bruin’s thin frontline at this point. Williams is averaging 14.9 points and 5.3 rebounds per game.

The Huskies have depended on two freshmen this year to fill out the point guard and center/forward positions: Justin Dentmon and Jon Brockman.

Justin Dentmon (Fr, 5'11, 185) is averaging 9.0 points, 4.5 assists, and 4.1 rebounds per game. He has been a steady contributor for the Huskies although he committed 7 turnovers against the Trojans.

Jon Brockman (Fr, 6’7, 245) is a wide body underneath and was picked by many in the preseason to be the favorite for Pac-10 Freshman of the year. He leads the Huskies in rebounding with 7.4 rebounds and averages 10.1 points per game with 57%.FG shooting.

Brockman dominated play in preseason games but he has struggled since Pac-10 play began. In four games against Pac-10 competition he is averaging only 5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game Although Brockman has struggled thus far in Pac-10 play, he is talented enough to give the Bruins Ryan Wright problems underneath.

The Huskies have Ryan Appleby Mike Jensen, and Joel Smith off the bench.

Appleby (So,6'2,170) is a 3-point specialist, who besides Roy, gives the Huskies their only consistent long-range threat – hitting on 42% of his 3-point shots.

Jensen (Sr,6'8,250) gives the Huskies a bigger presence inside (4.2 rebounds per game) although he is more comfortable shooting from the perimeter.

Smith (So, 6'4, 205) is an energy-type player and gives the Huskies more athleticism on the perimeter. He is averaging 5.6 points and 2.7 rebounds per game in 16 minutes.

Although the Huskies are leading the Pac-10 in scoring, they are last in points allowed 80.3 points per game.

Last year, the Huskies gave teams difficulty with a suffocating pressure defense, but with the loss of key players to graduation, this year’s Huskies’ team has struggled to maintain the same consistent defensive intensity throughout the whole game. Ben Howland’s Bruins will look to exploit the defensive lapses the Huskies have experienced during games this year.

In the first half against Washington St. the Bruins played perhaps their best half-court offense of the year prompting Cougar’s head coach Dick Bennett to say “UCLA's execution in the first half was a thing of beauty. Their screens, their cuts, their timing was perfect.”

With the Bruins suiting up only eight scholarship players for this game, the Bruins will need to execute their offense just as well against Washington but sustain it for the entire 40 minutes.

The Huskies run their offense through Brandon Roy. UCLA’s all-purpose player Arron Afflalo will be responsible for checking Roy and prevent him from having a game similar to his double-double performance against the Trojans. The Huskies, not surprisingly, tend to play well when Roy is on his game.



Post a Comment

<< Back To Bruin Basketball Report Home