Not really the start you wanted to see for the Huskies as we embark upon Pac-12 conference play. UCLA ranks among the very worst teams in all of college basketball, not just among the Power Five conferences. So, being down 10 points at halftime and ultimately losing by 2 at home to the Bruins is about as bad as it gets.
Jaden McDaniels continues to be a hothead, I guess? He fouled out after 14 minutes – not long after halftime – and we were never able to overcome the loss. Isaiah Stewart continues to be the very best-case scenario of what we imagined heading into the season (24 points, 11 boards, 5 blocks), and Naz Carter had a quality all around game (16 points, 4 boards, 2 steals, 2 blocks), but everyone else pretty much laid an egg. Once again, rebounding (particularly offensive rebounding) was our downfall, in spite of the fact that we had a 32-15 edge in free throw attempts (they shot 53%, we shot 72%). Making a couple more freebies, I’m sure, wouldn’t have hurt our chances, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.
Thankfully, the Huskies were able to turn it on and pound USC into dust, 72-40. The Trojans were held to 20% shooting (13% from long range) which more than made up for the fact that – once again – we were out-rebounded on the offensive glass 24-11. Here’s a quick breakdown of some offensive rebounding numbers this season:
- USC – 24 to 11
- UCLA – 22 to 11
- Houston – 16 to 9
- Ball State – 10 to 5
- Seattle U – 11 to 5
- Gonzaga – 11 to 2
- Eastern Washington – 15 to 11
- South Dakota – 9 to 6
- San Diego – 9 to 8
- Montana – 9 to 8
- Tennessee – 15 to 6
- Mt. St. Mary’s – 13 to 10
The only schools we’ve out-rebounded on the offensive glass this season have been Hawaii, Maine, and Baylor somehow. Mind you, this is a Husky basketball team whose biggest strength is supposed to be our front court! And look at all those tiny schools that are beating us in this area!
That’s nothing more than a lack of hustle. Lack of pride. Lack of floor awareness. Lack of HEART.
I refuse to put this entirely on the fact that we play so much zone defense. These numbers are totally out of whack from where they should be for a team with this level of talent. And, if it continues unabated, I can’t envision a scenario where this team does much of anything the rest of the way.
We’ve got three more warm-up games before the biggest showdown of the regular season: home against Oregon. This week, we go to the Bay Area. It would be nice to start piling up some W’s against inferior opponents to bolster our overall win/loss record heading towards the Tourney.