Bruins Do What They Should

You can't take much from UCLA beating Oakland, 91-60, except that the Bruins blew out the Grizzlies like they should...

That was a classic you-can't-take-anything-from-it game.

We can make some observations, assert that UCLA played better than it did against Drexel in beating Oakland, 91-60, but you really can't take anything from it.

Oakland might not be a really bad team, but were really bad Tuesday. They were horribly unathletic. If the only thing we knew they could do coming into this game was shoot the ball, well, they absolutely couldn't shoot it in this game. And it wasn't because UCLA took away all of the good looks. Oakland had plenty of open looks, but shot 29% from the field. They went 6-of-25 from three and a huge percentage of those shots were open. They were horrible defensively, barely able to move laterally and absolutely absent on help defense. They played zone the entire night and it was a horrible zone, with the Grizzlies looking like they were chained to the floor. Really, the only thing you could say that Oakland did decently was get back on defense. And they weren't really good at it, but barely decent.

So, given that, how do you take anything from this?

Well, first, at least UCLA did what it should do against a team playing this badly; it blew them out. It didn't feel like an explosive blowout, but it was one of those gradual blowouts. It might have been, too, that there just wasn't much energy in the game, either in the stands (a sparse 4,700) or on the court, so it just didn't have the feeling of a big-time blowout.

There some credit to be given out, but with an asterisk, since Oakland was so bad.

UCLA's defense was better than against Drexel, a bit more active. It still sags, to try to take away driving lanes, which opened up outside looks for Oakland but, again, the Grizzlies couldn't hit a shot. The Bruins, though, were far better on the perimeter of the defense and in a defensive position more consistently.

On the other end, Oakland employed a zone almost exclusively, and UCLA started out a bit slowly with its zone offense. But, again, Oakland's zone was so bad, with defenders seemingly anchored to the ground, UCLA found enough space to penetrate and pass or shoot. It really benefitted center Tony Parker, who was able to dominate Oakland's vastly under-talented frontcourt players and grab easy offensive rebounds to convert into put-backs. Parker had a double-double, with career highs of 21 points and 12 rebounds. Jordan Adams' craftiness was also just too much for Oakland's poor defenders, putting up 22 points, and making 4 pretty wide-open three pointers. Kyle Anderson looked pretty disinterested. Norman Powell looked like he was doing a lay-up drill most of the night, or a dunk drill, without really having to shoot much, finishing with 18 points.

Freshman Bryce Alford definitely looked more comfortable, playing in his second college game, and against such a bad team. He made a few nice assists. It's pretty easy, too, to throw up an alley-oop when the opposing team allows Powell to run straight down the lane on an in-bound. Zach LaVine flashed the athleticism at times, and looked to pass, but his shot selection from behind the three-point line was questionable.

David Wear struggled, actually. He had just 8 points and 6 rebounds, and had a poor stretch in the second half when he had a shot block after going up soft and a turnover.

Outside shooting was supposed to be a strength of the team, but it's a bit of a worry. Adams shot 4-of-9 from three, but the rest of the team went 1-for-12. So far on the season, in two games, the team is shooting 28% from three. Yeah, it's early and they'll settle in but, on the other hand, this stat comes against two very bad defenses.

Another worry is the predictability of the zone and man. When Alford and LaVine come in together at about 7 minutes into the first half the team immediately shifts to a zone. If UCLA makes that a habit, then, actually, it takes away from one of the main reasons you want to switch defenses, and that's to have an element of surprise.

But that could all change when the rotation changes with Travis Wear and possibly Wanaah Bail.

There just isn't much to conclude from Oakland. Again, the biggest takeaway is that UCLA did what every decent high D-1 team should against such a bad team.


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