UCLA Preview

Is it too much to call Saturday's game a must win... for both teams? Probably not, as two proud West Coast powers are back on their heels after dehumanizing losses on Thursday. As if that doesn't set the stage enough for drama, these teams are building some real history at Maples, which sets up for another classic clash Saturday when UCLA comes calling.

"We've got them right where we want them!" - Steve Lavin at team breakfast.

Steve Lavin has the Bruins right where he wants them, the faux quote above aside. Their fans and the Los Angeles media are ripping the Bruins. Opposing teams student bodies and fans have grown to dislike UCLA because the aura that surrounds UCLA Basketball. I am sure Steve is playing the "no respect, it is us against the world card. He wants them to play with a chip on their shoulders and live up to his teams pre-season press billings. He is scanning every paper and Internet site to find locker room material to motivate his teams.

By all accounts Steve Lavin is a nice guy. He is a great recruiter and is liked by his players. The Bruins were the odds on favorite to win the PAC 10 this season and make a run at the final 4. They have played one of the toughest schedules in the country and live, work and under the microscope of the Los Angeles sports market. They will advance far when I fill out my NCAA tournament Brackets. If any Bruin fans care to disagree, so be it.

The Bruins defense will be an ever-changing zone. From match up, to 1-2-2- to a 2-3. Bruin Boarders expect us to see 2-3 zone to protect the baseline drive. First and foremost, we need to identify what UCLA is in. We will need to move the crisp and well to find the open man. It will be interesting to see if Stanford makes a conscious effort to pound it in the middle to get Gadzuric into foul trouble. In the last meeting the Cardinal ended up getting away from its standard offense and going one on one to last 5 minutes of the game. Will Monty loosen up the reins?

On offense the Bruins will run motion along with some isolation plays. They will try to get it out in transition. The inside / out game with Gads and the wings is awesome when things are working. Curtis can't be afraid of getting into foul trouble.

Keys to the Game

  • Which team shows up and forces their style of basketball?
  • Which big man stays out of trouble while still being aggressive?
  • Whose outside game is working?
  • Control Barnes

The Starters

F 23 Matt Barnes 6-7 230 Sr 13.6 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 3.4 apg
F 24 Jason Kapono 6-7 200 Jr 17.6 ppg, 5.6 rpg
C 50 Dan Gadzuric 6-11 250 Sr 11.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg
G 3 Billy Knight 6-5 210 Sr 14.7 ppg, 3.4 prg
G 21 Cedric Bozeman 6-6 185 Fr 3.8 ppg, 3.6 apg

The Bench

F/C 43 T.J. Cummings 6-9 205 So 8.2 ppg, 3.2 rpg
G 1 Dijon Thompson 6-6 180 Fr 3.6 ppg, 2.0 rpg
G 22 Rico Hines 6-4 215 Sr 0.7 ppg, 2.3 rpg
F 5 Andre Patterson 6-8 210 Fr 2.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg
G 10 Ryan Walcott 6-2 175 Fr 1.6 ppg, 0.8 apg

editor's note: Matt Barnes is expected to miss Saturday's game by an automatic suspension from the Pac-10 after knocking out Shantay Legans and being ejected in Thursday's game at Cal

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