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Husky Men's Basketball

The latest news and analysis on Husky men's hoops.

February 18, 2009 at 10:43 PM

Keys to the game — UCLA

Here’s a breakdown of Thursday’s game against UCLA:
Records: Washington 19-6, 10-3; UCLA 19-6, 8-4. Where: Pauley Pavilion (12,819). Time: 8 p.m. TV: FSN (And in HDTV) Radio: KJR-AM
KEYS TO THE GAME
No. 1: Get to the line — As I detailed in my preview for tomorrow’s paper (and these stories posting a bit earlier these days than they used to so yes, the game is Thursday night) the Huskies have been making a living at the line this season. They really dominated in the first game with a 43-15 edge in attempts in Seattle. Some of that was due to UCLA trying to get back in the game in the late going. Still, UW had a big edge all game, going 11-12 to UCLA’s 3-6 which allowed the Huskies to keep it close when the Bruins briefly threatened to pull away. As my story details, however, it can be a lot harder to get to the line on the road than at home.
No. 2: Contain Darren Collison — The Huskies have harassed Collison into playing some of the worst games of his career in Seattle. And he’s really played well against the Huskies just once in his career, a 15-point, 12-assist game in a big win in 2006. If there’s a reason, it may be simply that the Huskies always take the game to Collison, being as aggressive as possible, making him work on defense and disrupting his offense. Again, that tends to work better at home. But maybe the Huskies have found a secret to defending Collison that will work again tonight.
No. 3: Hit the boards —UCLA is now at exactly even in rebounds with its opponents in Pac-10 play after being outrebounded a combined 13 in its two games last week. UW, meanwhile, leads the Pac-10 at plus-7.5 per game. Getting that many more possessions than UCLA could help mitigate the home court advantage.
No. 4: Start fast — Okay, you’re probably bored of reading this one from me. But as we’ve noted, UW has had trouble starting fast on the road, falling behind 10 at Stanford in its most recent road game, for instance. That could be fatal against the Bruins, who may be as fragile mentally right now as they’ve been in years. If UW can come out strong, the Bruins may start questioning themselves. But a quick start for the home club could obviously re-energize the Bruins.
No. 5: Defend the three — UCLA leads the Pac-10 in three-point shooting percentage in Pac-10 play at 42.9, and even in the two losses in Arizona last week the Bruins nailed a combined 17-43. Four UCLA regulars — Michael Roll, Collison, Nikola Dragovic and Josh Shipp — are hitting 37.8 percent or better for the season. Oregon made 10-26 against UW last week, many in garbage time but still the one alarming thing about that game from a Husky standpoint. If UCLA hits 10 Thursday night, UW probably doesn’t win.

Comments | Topics: UCLA

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