Friday, January 25, 2013

UCLA at Arizona: Post Game Thoughts

-Once again Bruin fans, remember, he's Bill Walton. He's a big name, so he can say whatever he wants. It's just how life works.

-My guess as to why Shabazz Muhammad was taken out: save him for the second half. There are two sides to this. On one end, UCLA could have maybe stretched its lead by a big margin early. On the other, the Bruins needed him to close the game out in the second half with just about no rest. And when you look at all the injuries that occurred during the game, it probably worked out for them.

-With that said, Howland is very, very lucky UCLA pulled this one out relatively easily. If UCLA had lost, Howland's rotations would have drawn harsh criticism.

-Want to know the funny thing about Muhammad's night? It should have been even better. After going 5-7 in the first half, the freshman stud missed his first four attempts of the second half, all of which were looks that were falling in the first half.

-Tony Parker will be remembered for his 3-point play late in the second half, but he still has ways to go defensively. He missed several rotations and assignments that led to easy buckets. With that said, he just needs more game action for his confidence.

-As I said, Walton calls the game as he sees it. Early in the second half all he could talk about was how great Shabazz was, even as he was missing some relatively easy looks. And later, all he could talk about was Tony Parker, ignoring those defensive breakdowns in the paint. And the most memorable of the night: how great UCLA's foul shooting had been at a point in the game when UCLA was 9-18 from the line.

-Don't get me wrong however, Walton has many valid points as well. He has raised some good points regarding the overall state of the program and Howland's game management in his past two broadcasts.

-Remember, as good as this win was, its just about meaningless if the Bruins don't walk out of Tempe with a win. UCLA should be favored through the rest of its games, with the possible exception of a visit from Arizona. Now its time to ride this momentum through the rest of the season. With the shape UCLA is in, all it takes is one loss for the dogs to let loose.

-If UCLA just didn't lose to Cal Poly. Seriously, how bad is that loss? Cal Poly beat Eastern New Mexico by 3. Yes, Eastern New Mexico is a cupcake for a cupcake. If UCLA doesn't lose that, then this team is potentially harboring around the top 10 right now.

-I have no clue how this is going to end now. 17-4, with a lot of winnable games remaining, a conference title on the table, and a West regional seed still possible. This is one of the strangest seasons yet. All I can say is, Bruin fans, enjoy the ride. Either we'll get a great finish, or a new coach. Hopefully nothing in between.

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