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November 14, 2011If you think Loyola was tough the Bruins will be going against a Middle Tennessee State team that is 2-0 and one of those victories was 58-51 triumph over the same Loyola squad that vanquished UCLA 69-58.
The Bruins will be playing a team in the MTSU Blue Raiders that is athletic, has lots of experience, rebounds well and is well coach. MTSU only played one freshman against Loyola. Obviously UCLA has their hands full.
The Blue Raiders like to play a 1-3-1 zone, sometimes without the trap. They play defense a lot like Oregon State defensively. MTSU does a lot of things on defense.
UCLA head coach, Ben Howland said that his team did not play well against Loyola. The Bruins did not execute, but give Loyola some credit, they played well, shot the ball well and hustled for 40 minutes.
Howland was asked if he is thinking about scrapping anything. After one game there is no reason to gut anything they are going to keep working hard to get this thing working.
The Wear twins, David Wear and Travis Wear played well in their first game, David had 11 points at the half and Howland would like to see him shoot some more. Both Wear brothers are great passers.
D.Wear is doing a nice job on the defensive end guarding smaller quicker players at the threes. Howland loves D. Wear's effort on defensive end.
The Bruins only had 10 turnovers in the opener, but they missed a lot open looks and open passes. They have to do a better job executing the offense.
Anthony Stover is getting closer to getting back and is doing some stuff at practice, but he won't be in any contact drills. He could return later this week doing contact and is expected to play when the team plays in Maui.
Both Lazeric Jones and D.Wear were banged up, but shot well this morning and should be okay.
The Bruins will welcome the return of senior point guard Jerime Anderson. He has been practicing well and he was really shooting the ball well during the morning shoot around. He will bring experience to the back court.
Howland liked what he saw in his very skilled, but green freshman, Norman Powell. He played well against Loyola and will only get better. He has a boatload of talent.
There is no doubt that Jones was pressing in the opener. Howland thinks that it wasn't only because of the opening game, but his old high school teammate, friend and Chicago Bull superstar, Derrick Rose was in the audience.
Rose wasn't the only NBA superstar in the audience, Russell Westbrook and Darren Collison were also on hand. Howland thinks it would have been a good day for them to have sat Jones down for about five minutes to get his bearings, but the game didn't allow that.
Tyler Lamb was the backup point guard for the game, but he is a much more natural two. It would have been a good night for Anderson to have played. Expect a much better effort tomorrow evening out of Jones against MTSU.
There is every indication that Jones and Anderson will see action on the court together. There could be times when they are running with three guards. Jones and Anderson are taking a leadership role on this team.
Sophomore center has apologized over and over again for his tweet after the Loyola game. He feels extremely sorry about the tweet about his thoughts right after Friday's game.
Forward, Brendan Lane will get his chance. He is working extremely hard.
Not all is well on the Bruin basketball front. Howland will meet with Reeves Nelson today to discuss his future with UCLA. Reportedly Nelson is having some issues that aren't good for the team.
Howland is going to address the issues with the media after tomorrow's game.
Mississippi State NEWS