Thursday, December 13, 2007

UCLA vs. Idaho State - Game Preview

By KS Wong
Bruin Basketball Report

Coach Ben Howland seeks his 100th career victory at UCLA when his No.8 ranked Bruins host the Idaho State Bengals Saturday night at Pauley Pavilion.

Howland, in his fifth season at the helm in Westwood, has a 99-42 record as head coach at at the school.  Only four coaches in UCLA history have more than 100 wins: John Wooden (620), Jim Harrick (192), Pierce "Caddy' Works (173), and Steve Lavin (145).

The Bruins (8-1) rallied to defeat Davidson last Saturday , 75-63, at the Wooden Classic.  Luc Richard Mbah a Moute scored 21 points and grabbed 8 rebounds in the victory.

With James Keefe redshirting this season, the Bruins will suit up ten scholarship players for the rest of the season.  Against Idaho State, UCLA walk-on point-guard Mustafa Abdul-Hamid will also not play, he is out for at least two weeks with a stress fracture injury to his foot.

Idaho State (2-6) play in the Big Sky Conference.  In their last contest on Wednesday, they lost to Boise State at home, 93-61.  The Bruins last played Idaho State in a regular season game during the 1983-84 season.

The Bengals have not played particularly well this season, they average an anemic 59.2 points a game on 40.4% field goal shooting and make just 24.2% on three-pointers.  In the meantime they allow opponents 72.1 points a game.  They've also been outrebounded by an average of 35.9 to 31.1. in games this season.

Idaho State is led on offense by junior guard Matt Stucki (6'6, 210) who is averaging 12.6 points on 44.4% shooting.  Stucki can shoot from the perimeter and take it to the basket.  Against Boise State, he scored a game-high  23 points.

UCLA's best perimeter defender Russell Westbrook will be matched up against Stucki.  Westbrook has impressed Coach Howland with his improved defense this season, having held both Texas's A.J. Abrams and Stephen Curry well below their respective season scoring averages.

Forward Chron Tatum (6'7, 220, Jr) is the team's second leading scorer at 9.4 points a game.

Idaho State is primarily a zone defensive team.  At minimum, this game will give the Bruins some valuable practice playing against a zone, a defense they've struggled executing against consistently this season.

In particular, the Bruins have had difficulty getting the ball into the hands of freshman Kevin Love in the post.   Love, the team's leading scorer at 16.7 points a game, has averaged just 5.5 field goal attemps over the last four contests.  The coaching staff has made it a priority for the entire team to get the ball inside in this game.

Coach Ben Howland also mentioned this week that against zone defenses he would employ guard Darren Collison at the wing while moving Russell Westbrook to the point on top.  Despite Westbrook shooting 57.1% from three-point distance this season, Howland feels Collison is the better outside shooter of the two and the Bruins need his added marksmanship from outside against zones.

While Collison was out with a knee injury, Westbrook racked up impressive numbers at point guard.  Westbrook currently leads the Pac-10 conference in assists with 6.1 dimes a game.

Date: December 15
Time: 5:00PM PT
Place: Pauley Pavilion
TV: FSN West
Radio: AM 570

BBR Notes:  Idaho State beat UCLA over thirty years ago in the Sweet Sixteen of the 1976-77 NCAA tournament, 76-75, which ended the Bruin's run of 10 straight Final Fours.



At Dec 13, 2007, 4:48:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

UCLA by 25.
Oh yeah... and we DON'T fall down by 20 in the first half.

At Dec 13, 2007, 8:13:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bruins by 2 in a nail-biter!

At Dec 14, 2007, 4:27:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Bruins by 2 in a nail-biter!"
If that happens to be the case, against a weak mid-major, this team is in trouble.

At Dec 14, 2007, 4:44:00 AM, Anonymous bruinzor said...

i wonder what the status is on roll...hopefully he'll be a good zone buster for the bruinz. although, im never holding my breath for these supposed deadly beyond the arc shooters to develop. they never do... what was the name of that guy before roll? supposed to be automatic from 3 in practice, but never panned out in a game...

At Dec 14, 2007, 6:48:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brandon Lloyd???

At Dec 14, 2007, 7:05:00 AM, Anonymous BruinBlue said...

I remember that 76-77 game. Marques Johnson, Greenwood, Roy Hamilton, Brad Holland?????
How did we lose. That was painful!

At Dec 14, 2007, 8:09:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Vegas odds on the game are -34,
...that's a league-high winning margin projection this year.
Vegas loves Bruins. They also project them as most likely to win a title.

At Dec 14, 2007, 6:06:00 PM, Anonymous BruinFan said...

never read the posts or previous comments...
UCLA by 40
let me know if anybody needs tix...I cant give em away...
the trick is....Howland would not schedule them if they weren't/didn't have
1) a full court press
2) a crazy 2-3 or some absurd zone
3) a good team
Pac 10 will lay another smackdown. As a BruinFan, it is to be expected.....with health, greatness is on the verge of happening.....shout out to all my Bruin faithful....Happy Holidays....yes, we will meet at Westwood Brew come Pac-10 time...spread the word....

At Dec 14, 2007, 8:49:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's good we don't start conference play until January. Darren and Roll have two weeks to recover and shake the rust off.

At Dec 15, 2007, 8:09:00 AM, Anonymous Damon said...

How did we lose that game in '77?
Two words: Gig Sims.

At Dec 15, 2007, 11:10:00 AM, Anonymous JonW said...

Gig Sims? Explain that one, Damon. I liked Gig.

At Dec 16, 2007, 1:02:00 AM, Anonymous Damon said...

Nothing against Gig, but he was a bit soft in the middle, not all that coordinated, and not a great shooter.
Now, I was pretty young when he played, so maybe my memory is false.
No offense to Gig, wherever he may be today.

At Dec 16, 2007, 3:05:00 AM, Anonymous Bruin Basketball Report said...

Actually I think Gig had a big influence in us getting Kevin Love.
Gig lives in Oregon and is very good friends with the Loves I believe it was reported he encouraged him to come to UCLA.


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