UCLA Crashes and Burns
Nikola Dragovic trying to control the ball. AP Photo/Michael Perez
In the second round UCLA is routed by the Villanova Wildcats 89-69. The very physical game was never close, and UCLA looked softer than butter in the face of the 1-3-1 zone employed by the Wildcats.
Although I did have the Bruins losing in this round, it is still surprising nonetheless to see them struggle this badly. They were the Washington Generals this afternoon never playing to the potential of the name in front of their jersey.
The Bruins were harassed by that 1-3-1 zone played 3/4 court causing troubles to even getting the ball across the time line. Once they got across half court, the Bruins could not shake off the Wildcats defenders. If they tried a perimeter shot there was a body on them. If they tried to go to the hole, there were bodies blocking the lane. Although Josh Shipp, Darren Collison and Nikola Dragovic got their share of scoring the rest of the team was colder than ice.
On defense the Bruins looked DOA. Lead footed they tried to go man-on-man but the Wildcats exploited this easily and often getting easy shots around the basket. The Wildcats got many second and third chance opportunities. Six Wildcats scored in double digits while they outrebounded UCLA 39-26, 15 of those offensive gets. Early foul trouble by Alfred Aboya didn't help things any. After two quick fouls in the opening minutes of the game, Aboya seemed a little gun shy thereafter.
During Ben Howland's tenure at UCLA the phrase, "UCLA got out-toughed," was rarely uttered, but in this case it's an understatement.