Saturday, February 27, 2010
Breaking down today's scenarios
Let's explore a few scenarios for today's game between UCLA and Oregon at Pauley Pavilion.
UCLA like wins if...
- ...seniors Michael Roll and Nikola Dragovic rise to the occasion in their final game inside Pauley. The two -- along with forward James Keefe, guard Mustafa Abdul-Hamid and walk-on Spencer Soo-- will be introduced shortly before today's 2 p.m. tip-off. Roll has a chance to go out on a good note, needing only four 3-pointers to move into fourth place on UCLA's all-time list for 3-pointers made. Dragovic, meanwhile, will be playing in front of his family for the first time since he arrived at UCLA. The 6-foot-9 forward has faced adversity this season, both on and off the court. He hurt his left shoulder diving for a loose ball early in Thursday's 65-56 win against Oregon State, but quickly returned and scored 14 points in the second half. Dragovic's status for today's game will be a game-time decision.
- ...freshman Tyler Honeycutt can do what he did Thursday. The 6-foot-7 forward did it all -- 18 points, 10 rebounds, five blocks, four assists and three steals -- while playing the four spot. Reeves Nelson (left eye surgery) will sit out today's game as well, meaning Honeycutt has to attacked the boards with the same energy.
UCLA likely loses if...
- ...the Bruins want to balance their books. Both UCLA and Oregon tout overall records of 13-14 and the two seemed evenly matched in their previous meeting a month ago in Eugene, Ore. It's unlikely that coach Ben Howland would accept an NIT bid if UCLA fails to win the Pacific 10 Conference tournament -- but the Bruins first need a .500 record to be eligible.
- ...it is unable to stop Oregon at the end of the game. The Ducks scored 12 unanswered points in the final six minutes Thursday to defeat USC at the Galen Center. Before that, Oregon had lost five straight -- its last two wins coming in late January against the Los Angeles schools. Roll forced overtime at McArthur Court by sinking a 3-pointer, but the Ducks went on a 10-4 run to put the Bruins in a tough spot.
Notes: Like Dragovic, freshman forward Brendan Lane will be a game-time decision. He sat out Thursday's 65-56 win after spraining his left ankle in practice earlier in the week... A 40th anniversary presentation of the 1970 NCAA Championship team will take place at halftime... The game will be televised on Prime Ticket.
- ...the turnover bug returns. There was improvement in Thursday's 12-turnover performance. Still, 12 is a number Howland would like to see cut down, but he was pleased when primary ball-handlers Malcolm Lee and Jerime Anderson combined for just four.