Friday, November 09, 2007

UCLA vs. Portland State - Liveblog

This should be fun, as I figure to get drunker and drunker as the game goes on. Free internet broadcast courtesy of CSTV. We finally get to see Kevin Love in a Bruins uni.

  • Interesting thing about these broadcasts. They overlay the radio feed with the camera feed from the guys filming the game for scouting purposes. So during commercials, they apparently show what the Pauley scoreboard shows. I was just encouraged to get on my feet and make noise. I can get kind of loud, but not Krakatoa loud.
  • 5th starter tonight is Al Aboya.
  • And Love opens with a defensive board and an outlet pass that leads to a break and two points.
  • Love seal and dunk. He's good. And an easy dunk on the inbounds. Wow.
  • I may be in the minority, but I like the C. You did something good. Flaunt it. And the obvious upshot is that it's going to get mentioned in every game on TV. People are going to ask about it. And game after game, all year, people are going to hear that UCLA was the first school to 100 national championships.
  • Under 16 TO: First impressions? Pretty solid quality on this video. Thanks, CSTV.
  • PSU takes a time out because of dunk we never saw. Here's the problem with this set-up. Love hits a shot inside, and while they're showing replay, he gets a rebound on the other end that leads to a dunk that we don't see. Now the game is back on, but it beat the radio feed. Weird. Niiiiiiiiiiiikolaaaaaaaa into the game.
  • Again, we miss game action for a replay, but that seems to be the way this is going to go.
  • The defense has been awesome, with the typical doubling and flashing UCLA defense that leads to a lot of steals. They look like they could win this game by 100 points if the try.
  • Hey, remember when Lavin was coaching, and you never sure if they'd actually win games like this?
  • 36-17 at the end of the first half. They slowed down a bit. Whether that's because they naturally slowed down, or they took their foot off the gas, but the first ten minutes were very impressive. Impressions:
    • Kevin Love is very good. He's not an overpowering Shaq-type force, but he has a great feel for how to put the ball in the basket, and his passing is as advertised. He can yank down a few boards, too.
    • The defense looks like they're ready to pick up where they left off. Double teams, steals, etc.
    • Dragovic picked up some nice minutes, as did Stanback. Both look like they can contribute 8th and 9th man minutes. When Collison, Keefe, and Roll return, this team can go 11 deep.
  • LRMAM looks like he needs to find a role. Maybe he'll better with Collison, but right now, with Shipp and Love picking up scoring slack, he looks a little lost on the offensive end.
  • Josh Shipp can shoot. He's turning into the scorer that his brother was.
  • Westbrook can be electric, but he's got a lot of learning to do. Fortunately, he gets to learn against the best point guard in college basketball. Much like every day practice against Farmar made Collison a terrific player, Collison's tutelage will help Westbrook improve. And just imagine the guard battles in practice next year with Westbrook, Holliday, Lee, and Anderson.
  • It's really weird watching these games with a clock and scoreboard on the screen.
  • Love just grabbed a board and made a two foot pass to Shipp. Tells me that he's not going to fire outlets to nowhere when the opportunities aren't there. He's got 18 and 11. First in a long line of double doubles.
  • I love Lo Mata-Real, but it's going to be really nice to have a center that you can play on both the offensive and defensive end late in games. Love can make free throws.
  • I can't stop thinking about depth. Their second team (RW, Roll, Chace, Aboya, Lo) would be a heck of a starting five in most conferences. And that doesn't even factor in Keefe or Dragovic. Good God, this can be a freaking 12 man rotation!!
  • An addendum to the last bullet, the top ranked recruit from the Roll, Collison, LRMAM, Aboya class isn't even with the team anymore. Ryan Wright was the "stud" from that class.
  • Westbrook's offense isn't quite as "instant" when he starts. But when DC gets back, he's going to be a super-sub who can fill in a for a few games at a time. This experience is invaluable.
  • Game over. UCLA wins handily. It's not a 50 point win like Duke put up, but then again, Howland doesn't leave his starters in up by 40 with 30 seconds to play.
So that's that. 69-48. K-Love was pretty solid. 22 points, 13 boards. The last Bruins with similar debut numbers was T.J. Cummings. The difference between Love and Cummings is that Kevin's not afraid to get paint on his shoes. I've never seen a player with T.J.'s size who was so reluctant to go anywhere near the basket.

Win. Experience. On to bigger things.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

All Kinds of Stuff

Just to catch up, I thought I'd throw a bunch of different subjects into one post. I gotta admit, the fact that I'm on some blogrolls kind of increases the pressure to catch up once in a while, and I've been slacking, so I'll do this in the order of importance.

UCLA Football

Honestly, it's gotten so bad lately that I've started to head toward the worst possible dimension of fandom: Apathy. Any other season and I would have been at a bar watching Saturday's game. But this week I had a played in a golf tournament on Saturday morning, checked the score on the way home, commiserated with my dad, and really had no interest in keeping track of the finish.

This is a team with 20 returning starters, all recruited by Dorrell, and they are going to fail to get to a bowl game. Think about that for a minute. A team that started the year ranked 11th, with 20 starters back, and they aren't even going to get to a bowl game. And they haven't even played the tough part of their schedule yet. They've played one good team (and beat them). They've lost to Utah, Arizona, Washington State, and the coup de grace, arguably the worst Notre Dame team in history. I'm not quite sure what it takes for the Athletic Department to realize that a new direction is needed, but it seems like Dorrell's record should speak for itself.

I really can't see them winning any of their last three games. Maybe ASU if they get lucky, but that's a stretch. The only real drama remaining is when Dan Guerrero is going to announce Dorrell's dismissal, and who will be tabbed to replace him. Brace yourself for disappointment on that second front. The financial realities at a public university in California dictate that UCLA won't be able to spend top dollar. I'm not quite sure what that leaves. Perhaps an up and comer with whom they can catch lightning in a bottle. But personally, I wouldn't mind seeing Norm Chow take over.

UCLA Basketball

It's early, and some guys are nursing injuries, but hey, they look like they're going to be pretty good, huh? Honestly, I don't have much to say on them at this point, since every bit of information I get is second hand. I'll have more to say once they start to show up on my TEEVEE.

That said, I'm not particularly concerned about the early injuries, especially the injury to Collison. UCLA is back to a position where March is what matters, and while I don't want anyone to get hurt, the worst part about a Collison injury is less wear and tear on Darren, and more experience for Russell Westbrook. That seems to me like a pretty good silver lining. They're as deep this year as they've ever been. Mike Roll's injury will provide more experience for Nikola Dragovic, and that depth is going to be paramount throughout a tough conference season. Any team that can only roll six or seven guys during conference season this year is going to be in big trouble in the Tournament. There will be very little left in their tank.

Illinois Basketball

I have even less to say about the Illini hoops team than I did about UCLA. We're going to be OK, not great, and probably a bubble team at best. But Bruce Weber always gets everything out of his talent, and because of that, I'd say they're also a bubble team at worst. They'll be competitive every night. A lot of new faces will be getting minutes. How many of those minutes I'll see is open question, since Comcast and the Big Ten Network are still duking it out.

Kings Hockey

These guys are fun to watch. They're young, skilled, and over the last few weeks, they've really been competitive. Hopefully they're getting a little confidence that can carry them through to at least a position to contend for a playoff spot. The new faces, save for Brad Stuart (who has kind of sucked so far) seem to be melding nicely, and Mike Cammalleri has been awesome so far. But no one comes here to read about the Kings.


To A-Rod, or not to A-Rod? I guess it all depends on what he's asking for and if there's any team out there who is likely to give it to him. There's not much question that he would fill a need which may or not be filled by a healthy Dallas McPherson. Obviously the levels of production are hugely disparate, but so are the salaries involved. It's not my money, so I guess Arte can spend it or not spend it however he wants. I'm not going to be heartbroken if the Angels don't reel him in.