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SoCalDukeFan
02-15-2010, 11:36 AM
UCLA, UNC-CH and UConn are longshots to make the NCAA Tournament and my guess is that UCLA and UNC-CH both need to win their conference tournament to get in.

I really don't know much about UConn's troubles but both UCLA and UNC lack a quality point guard. Both are coached by very successful experienced coaches. UCLA unexpectedly lost their point to the NBA and UNC-CH just evaluated Drew 2 too highly in my opinion.

Duke also lacks a top flight player who grew up playing the point but Coach K has found a way to use Jon and Nolan such that the position is actually an asset for Duke, at least offensively.

With the exception of the season he missed, Coach K has never had a season such as UCLA's or UNC-CH's in the last 25 years or so. While injuries have hurt UNC-CH, I think the problems at point are a bigger problem.

We are very lucky.

SoCal

roywhite
02-15-2010, 11:42 AM
Some very good points.

Since you're in the area, what else can you tell about the UCLA situation? Has Howland "lost" this team, or do they just not have the right pieces? What is the reaction to the UCLA swoon...both from those close to the program and the local media?

Are the Bruins likely to be much better next year?

SoCalDukeFan
02-15-2010, 01:18 PM
I am certainly not an Insider at UCLA but my friends who are alums generally look at 3 straight Final Fours and give Howland a pass this year. He is using a zone which he says he abhors and has been a little more successful with it.

His successful teams have featured some strong guys underneath who could bang the boards, a quality point guard, and some good outside shooters. Jrue Holiday was supposed to be that point guard this year but jumped to the NBA after only one year. Just as Drew 2 gets criticism from the UNC-CH faithful, so do Anderson and Lee who are UCLA attempts at point guard.

A friend of a friend is an insider and is also very very close to John Wooden. The insider thinks that Howland works the team too hard and drives player to leave early.

UCLA is also a victim of some recruiting mistakes. Neither Drew Gordon (who was starting but is now transferring to New Mexico) nor J'mison Morgan are the underneath rebounders that Howland typically plays. Morgan has been hurt but has barely contributed when healthy.

Besides Holliday UCLA has lost a ton of players early. Some like Kevin Love should have been expected.

UCLA fans expect next year to be much better. Howland has recruited a JUCO point guard and a top rated big man.


SoCal

roywhite
02-15-2010, 01:40 PM
Thanks for the response, SoCal.

Sounds similar to the UNC story:

Some recruiting mis-judgements esp. about point guards
Early departures can cause problems or holes
Some chance that the coaches are not connecting with the current group
Continued recruiting results look good
Generally better outlook for the following year
Goodwill "in the bank" for both Howland and Roy means no real pressure from the school or fans, though another bad year in 2010-11 may be a problem

And again this should reflect very well on the consistent excellence of Duke under Coach K. It ain't easy.

gumbomoop
02-15-2010, 03:47 PM
And again this should reflect very well on the consistent excellence of Duke under Coach K. It ain't easy.

Best exemplified by the commonplace observation: "Duke plays every play."

I don't watch enough games to know whether three dozen other teams play with the same commitment to D, and spacing/movement on O, that Duke displays every game. Maybe Purdue does; I'm asking. Kansas? Texas A&M? I'm wildly guessing. Mich St? No other team, none?

[I bet Bilas knows.....]

weezie
02-15-2010, 04:50 PM
KS looks pretty intense on defense, they don't look like they rattle, either.

gumbomoop
02-16-2010, 07:27 AM
KS looks pretty intense on defense, they don't look like they rattle, either.

OK, I'll check 'em out. I'm going to take a look at Purdue, too.

I think that commonplace observation - "Duke plays every play" - is in fact, ummmmm..... a fact, and not a suburban legend.