Thursday, January 18, 2007

ASU 50; UCLA 60

First things first, as I type this, the idiot Arizona announcers are doing the U$C - UA game. U$C took seven seconds in the backcourt. The announcer says "U$C only has three seconds to get the ball over the mid-court line". Ya know, if you're going to broadcast games in a power conference, you should know the rules. Only the shot clock doesn't re-set. If you take four seconds to inbound the ball before calling a time out, you still get another five seconds after the time out. Similarly, if you take nine seconds in the back court before calling time out, you get another ten seconds to get the ball over the time line. Play by play guys should know that.

Now, on to the UCLA game. I've come to the realization that the reason I hate watching games against teams that play zone defenses is because I root for the two teams in the country that seem to have no clue how to play against a zone defense. It's a slow tempo, pass it around, use the clock type of game, which really isn't all that fun to watch. For now, Arizona State has to play that way. Honestly, I don't know enough about Herb Sendek to know if that's his style, but for now, we're stuck with it.

UCLA hit the shots they needed to hit, played the defense they needed to play, and despite trailing for a majority of the game, eventually pushed it out to a 12 point lead before winning by ten. Darren Collison led the Bruins with 16 points, inlcuding a couple of threes. And big ups to LRMAM who grabbed 15 boards in this one. He's been hurting, so it's good to see him get back to his strengths, which is pulling down rebounds.

I don't quite understand his thinking, but a couple of times in the second half, UCLA settled for what really were bad shots late in the shot clock (a product of the zone defense they were facing). Don McLean, UCLA's color guy, noted after they made two that those were shots they could have gotten early in the shot clock, thereby forcing the tempo. Well, sorry, but no shit. They can get bad shots at just about any point in any game. Notice that he didn't make a similar comment after they chucked up 30 footers at the end of the shot clock. The reason they don't take those shots after five seconds is because they're working (or possibly praying) that something better opens up. This isn't rocket science.

U$C beat another team looking ahead to their matchup against a top three team yet again, which means Arizona will show up hungry on Saturday. Actually, I wouldn't be surprised to see Arizona win, so long as they don't rely on a good second half from Ivan Radenovic, who seems to find new ways to come up small in the final ten minutes every year. But UCLA is due for a home loss, and Arizona has already choked away three conference games, so the law of averages says they have to win sometime. Then again, UCLA seems to come out big against good teams, except for maybe Oregon. Should be a good one.

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