Saturday, March 17, 2007

Sports: Round Two - UCLA vs. Indiana

Am nervous about UCLA vs. IU.

Indiana has a big guy in D.J. White. UCLA relies on Collison, Shipp and Afflalo on the perimeter. Mata, Mbah a Moute and Abboya are serviceable interior players on offense and with their value in their pretty solid defense. Clearly Coach Howland and Bruin fans are hoping they will step up and contain D.J. White.

It would also be nice to get some offensive contributions from the inside (only 11 points out of 70 in the Weber State game) to give the perimeter guys a little extra space to work with. All season long, UCLA faced zones and when the outside shooting was cold, they were in trouble.

Meanwhile, in the rest of the field, I was surprised to see only two double-digit seeds make it to round two. There were no 5/12 upsets. Three of the four 9s won in the 8/9 match-up but those really aren't "upsets" like the wins by VCU and Winthrop which were 11s over 6s.

We shall see if the seeds hold form on Saturday and Sunday.

Games that I think could be really interesting: Michigan State vs. UNC (two top coaches battling it out) and Texas vs. USC (as a UCLA fan and Pac-10 partisan, I have seen USC's athleticism. They have been flying under the radar nationally but this could be their showcase game).

In any case, Go Bruins!

UPDATE: Whew, survive and advance! With a 20-13 half-time score you would think it was a football game. UCLA's bigs came up big with Mbah a Moute snagging 12 rebounds of which 5 were at the offense end. Mata got 8 rebounds and a few key baskets. Westbrook wasn't in much but that fast break dunk was huge! His 4 minutes may not seem like much but that gives Collison some rest so he would have the fresh legs for the frantic finish which included a steal by Collison that sealed the game.

Indiana's D.J. White was a force with 14 rebounds and 4 blocked shots and who knows how many altered shots. But the supporting cast didn't hit some threes until late in the game when Indiana came from double digits down to tying the game.



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