Coach's Corner: Get ready for LA

It was a brief press conference for Lute Olson this week. Not only did he have another engagement, but he seemed a bit tired of the fans' doom and gloom over the Stanford loss.

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Olson began by touching on the Stanford game.
Lute Olson: "In terms of recap on the Stanford game, it was a matter of an experienced team that was patient vs. a young team that was impatient. In the first half, we had a lot of good shots – lay-in-type shots – that we should have made. On the perimeter, anytime a team plays as solidly as Stanford does defensively, instead of taking three passes to get that open look, it may take seven passes. In the second half, we were better with our effort, but when you give a team a 13-point lead, you are going to have a problem."

Olson switched gears to the USC game.

Olson: As far as this week is concerned, USC is a team that is going to play very aggressively. Defensively, they go for a lot of steals. You had better protect the ball. We have to play very aggressively and be strong with the ball. They do a lot of one-on-one on offense. Their guards take the ball to the basket very aggressively.

(Desmon) Farmer is very aggressive offensively. He loves to put up the three. If you look at the stats, most of his shot attempts are three-point attempts (110-of-185). The other problem they create is that (Rory) O'Neil is a 46 percent three-point shooter and they bring him down in a trail on a lot of things. If the defender gets buried in the lane, he can really shoot it. He will not spend a lot of time in the basket area, most of the time, he's out setting screens and rolling out to the three-point area, and that is something we'll have to take away."

The (Errick and Derrick) Craven twins and the (Lodrick and Rodrick) Stewart twins are all drivers and penetrators. If they get one-on-one at half court on a semi-break, they are taking it to the basket. It concerns us a bit because the worst problem we have foul wise is reaching. Andre for example, 90 percent of his fouls are reaching fouls. In this league you are not going to get away with that. Even if you get the ball it is going to be a foul. I would say 9 out of 10 but I think it is more than that. That will be a test for us."

They zone and man and they run box and one and run a 2-3, 1-2-2, they will play man to man and al ot of changing up and it will be important for the perimeter people read the defense and attack it accordingly.

Next he discussed the UCLA game.

Olson: "With UCLA at this point, they are playing as a team. There has never been any question about the talent that they have. The talent is there, and I think Ben (Howland) has done a great job of taking that talent and focusing on team. They are very sound defensively. they are going to be out pressing you a lot. They are more of a containment-type of defensive team.

" It is an important trip for us. I keep being asked how does the Stanford game effect the season. Unless I forget Stanford beat us here last year and we beat Stanford at Stanford and we beat everybody else twice. We were 17-1. Whether we can do that or not I, don't know. I know this, Stanford is solid enough that we can't count on other people to do our job. We have to go out each game and knowing it is going to be a critical game for us. It is no difference than a year ago as far as I'm concerned."

Question: What can you learn from the loss?

Olson: "We've had a couple good practices (since Saturday). Where they really learn is from tape breakdowns. You can talk until you are blue in the face and maybe someone won't accept that. But when they see it on tape, its a whole different ball game. We'll learn from that as we've learned from other games. The biggest thing you take away from it is that the better the team you're playing, the more patient you have to be for shots to present themselves."

Question: Mustafa Shakur hit a lot of baskets down the stretch, is he a guy you may look more too?

Olson: "I want anybody who has a good percentage from spots to take them. I don't want that if we are coming down and the defense is set. the shot that is open on the wing is not the shot we want because we have not forced the defense to move where we have the opportunity to get the second shot. If we are coming off the break then we want that shot because the defense is moving and recovering anyway. I want Mustafa to take the shots that he hits on a consistent basis. Who do I want to shoot it I want the open man to shoot it. I don't want the great shooter with a man in his face taking it if there is somebody who is open for either the shot or a pass to somebody with an opening for a shot."

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