Hoops Preview - UCLA

Following two impressive performances at home against Stanford and California, the (13-5, 3-3) University of Washington Huskies will go out on the road tomorrow to play the prestigious UCLA Bruins at 7:30 p.m. PST. Although the Huskies remain winless on the road, UCLA will provide them a great opportunity to change that as they are only 7-10 overall and 2-3 in the Pac-10.

Husky Head Coach Lorenzo Romar said he hopes his team has gotten over their road woes.

"Well, what we just continue to try to do is build our team in such a way that you play one way, whether it's on Mars or whether it's in the basement or whether it's in front of 20,000," Romar said. "Whatever the situation is this is just how we go about our business, and I don't know if we are there yet. We are preparing and hopefully we feel like we've turned a corner to where to whether we are on the road or whether we are at home that it doesn't matter and we play one way, but we haven't done that yet so it remains to be seen."

Pauley Pavilion hasn't been friendly to UW in recent years however, as the Dawgs have only beaten the Bruins one time since 1987. That win came in 2006. They've only won three times in 44 attempts at Pauley Pavilion.

But UCLA hasn't done a great job of defending their house this year and currently are only 6-5 at Pauley. Despite what appears to be a golden opportunity for a very rare Westwood win, Romar said that he would never overlook a team at home.

"I would never say that about a team on its home court," he said. "I would never say that. Especially a team like UCLA that has so much pride and so much tradition. When we walk in there we are expecting them to come out like gangbusters and get after us. That's what we are expecting. I wouldn't see, in that regard, any vulnerability there."

Even though UCLA hasn't won a national title since 1995, Romar said Pauley Pavilion is a special place to play.

"You can't walk into Pauley Pavilion and not notice the 11 banners up there," he said. "National Championship banners. It's hard to not notice that and since 1975, UCLA has one championship. Regardless, you know there was some serious hoopin' going on in here in this building and UCLA is one of the most prestigious programs in America and always has been. You notice it; there is no doubt about it.

"I think when you go out there and you play, if you've got any heart about you at all, you say, 'Well then that this is the place that we are supposed to do real well in'. And people talk about the bullseye on your back, I think when people go into Pauley Pavilion, even though today's age don't remember, I tease our guys all the time, past five years maybe, it's still pretty special."

Washington is 36-90 all-time against UCLA, and is 6-58 while playing them in Los Angeles.

So far this season the Bruins have suffered defeats to Cal-State Fullerton, Portland, Butler, Long Beach State, Kansas, Mississippi State, Notre Dame, Arizona, Stanford and USC. They have beaten Cal-State Bakersfield, Pepperdine, New Mexico State, Colorado State, Delaware State, Arizona State and California.

In terms of their roster they feature a very talented team; however they are young, featuring just three seniors, and they have not lived up to their potential. They also lost sophomore Drew Gordon earlier this season when he decided to transfer. He was a starter at the time of his decision.

Malcolm Lee, a 6-foot-1 sophomore point guard, is averaging 13.8 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game. He is also averaging 2.7 turnovers and 1.3 steals per game.

A surprising performer this season for the Bruins has been Reeves Nelson, a 6-foot-8 freshman forward. He is averaging a solid 10.2 points off of 62 percent shooting from the field to go with his 5.5 rebounds per game.

UCLA is also getting solid play out of two of their seniors, Michael Roll and Nikola Dragovic. They are averaging 13.4 and 10.5 points per game, respectively.

Overall as a team, UCLA is averaging 66.9 points per game and allowing 69.1. They are also averaging 14.5 turnovers per game. In Pac-10 play they are averaging 63.2 points per game and allowing 71.8 points.

Look for UCLA Head Coach Ben Howland to have his team playing slow-pace offense and a tight man-to-man defense, although they recently broke out some zone for maybe the first time since Howland took over the program in 2003.

The Bruins will be without sophomore center J'mison Morgan who is out 1-2 more weeks with a partially torn quadricep muscle. Sophomore guard Jerime Anderson will be a game-time decision after he missed practice on Tuesday with a hip flexor injury.

The projected starters for UCLA are Lee and Roll in the backcourt, with Nelson, Dragovic, and Tyler Honeycutt, a 6-foot-7 freshman forward in the frontcourt.

Next up for UW after the Bruins will be USC (11-6, 3-2) on Saturday. The game is at 7:30 p.m. PST at the Galen Center in Los Angeles.

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