Huskies Insider Blog

Afternoon run: UCLA playing zone? OSU picks up an easy win


UCLA coach Ben Howland has always prided himself on  his team's hardnosed man-to-man defense. Have the Bruins been a little overrated in that regard in recent years? Oh yes. This year they have been absolutely horrific defensively. The struggle with pick and rolls, proper rotation and just overall fundamentals. Having some slow big guys like Josh Smith doesn't help.

In recent games, the Bruins have played 2-3 zone as a way to combat these issues. And it appears they will play more zone in the future.

From Baxter Holmes' story in the LA Times ...

Then again, UCLA hasn't stopped many three-point shooters this season. The Bruins rank next to last out of 338 Division I teams in three-point field goal-percentage defense. Opponents are shooting 45.1%.

Mississippi Valley State is worse, but only by a 10th of a percentage point.

With such a glaring weakness, switching to a defense that favors three-point shooters might seem like a move in the wrong direction.

"It doesn't help that [statistic] come down," Howland said. "But I would rather give up threes and try to contest those threes than layups."

He added: "I think a zone is going to benefit us, especially when we have to play big or change things up."

Howland has implemented a zone defense in past seasons but usually not for long. He seems more committed to it this season.

"We have to get better at it, because we're going to have it during the course of the year," Howland said.

Last night's game ...

Oregon State bounced back from the loss to Idaho with a 95-53 trouncing of Illinois-Chicago.

From Kevin Hampton's game story from the Gazette-Times ...

"We want to think that this is the way we play and Friday was an anomaly. And that's how the guys approached the game," OSU coach Craig Robinson said. "They came out as if Friday had never happened."

The Beavers (7-2) had a few trouble areas against Idaho that Robinson wanted to get back on track.

They struggled with shooting, rebounding and help defense.

Shooting? The Beavers hit 33 of 57 from the field (57.9 percent) and 8 of 15 from 3-point range (53.3 percent).