Latest Team Rankings
Free Text Alerts
|ShopMobileRadio RSSRivals.com Yahoo! Sports|
|College Teams||High Schools|
March 25, 2006The first time No. 2 seed UCLA (30-6) played No. 1 seed Memphis (33-3) back in November, the Tigers beat the Bruins 88-80. That eight point differential was the largest margin of defeat that the Bruins have suffered all season. That game showcased a lot of the positives this young UCLA team has displayed this season as well as the negatives. Like many games the Bruins played, it was game of two halves.
The Bruins can ill-afford to allow the Tigers to shoot 61 percent to the Bruin 33 percent in the first half as they did the first time around.
In the first game UCLA couldn't dig themselves out the hole they put themselves in with a poor first half. The Bruins ended up trailing the Tigers by 17 at the intermission. The Bruins did mount a comeback but never came closer than six points.
During the first contest Memphis freshman Shawne Williams shot lights out in the first half as he was a perfect seven-for-seven from the floor including a devastating five-for-five from beyond the arc. Williams scored 20 of his team's 51 points in the first half.
The Bruins are much better team now then they were in November when they were trying to find who they were as a unit. They were also going through a ration of injuries, but the Bruins are about as healthy as they have been all season.
The emergence of senior center Ryan Hollins had made UCLA a better team. He gives the Bruins a good presence inside and that will help against the big and athletic players that the Tigers have.
True freshman Luc Richard Mbah a Moute though he led the Bruins in rebounds in the first game didn't do a lot offensively. Now he can be counted on for some scoring. Mbah a Moute is a much better player now then he was then.
The Bruin bench is much improved since November. The Bruins can now count on three freshmen off the bench to give the Bruins quality minutes.
Freshman point guard Darren Collison has been a difference maker providing a spark off the bench. Alfred Aboya missed the first game and he can provide another physical banger inside. Michael Roll provides another outside shooting presence when he gets hot he makes the Bruins hard to stop.
Memphis, like UCLA, are better than they were the first time around and still pose the same problems that the Tigers posed in the first game. They play long, they're athletic and very physical inside. They also have an excellent inside/outside game that will test the fine Bruin defense.
The key for the Bruins will be to get in rhythm on both ends of the floor from the opening tip off to the final whistle. In the previous game the Bruins gave the Tigers too many open looks in the first half.
The Bruins learned a lot about themselves in November when they played Memphis. They fought back and didn't quit. That spirit was carried by the Bruins the whole season long.
For the Bruins to prevail they will need their talented backcourt tandem of Jordan Farmar and Arron Afflalo get off track early.
Bruin fans were able to get a taste of sophomore point guard Jordan Farmar competitiveness. When the Bruins were battling to get back in the game and went on an 11 point run, Farmar scored nine of the 11 and had the assist on the lone other deuce. Farmar led the Bruins with a career high 28 points in the first contest against Memphis.
Afflalo chipped in 14 points, but only took 10 shots in the first game hitting 50 percent from the field.
A good game by senior swingman Cedric Bozeman will also be helpful.
For the Bruins to win this game, it will have to be a team effort on both sides of floor. With their pressure defense get some easy baskets. This is not a game to come out slow. The intensity and focus have to be from the opening tip. If the Bruins play their game, they could end up winning, if not, then this game could end up being a repeat of the first game.
BruinBlitz.com's recruiting coverage is generally part of our Premium Ticket service. This article is free to everyone as part of a special promotion. For the very best in coverage of UCLA sports and recruiting get the BruinBlitz.com Premium Ticket.
Click Here to subscribe today!
Notre Dame NEWS