Monday, December 31, 2018

Friday Evening and Sunday Afternoon We Play USC and UCLA

USC is missing some pieces. Minyon Moore is their motor, plays hard every possession, and makes a lot of nice plays. Everybody plays decent defense and rebounds. Their problem is a lack of size and against UCLA on Sunday they weren't shooting well. Against the only ranked team they've played so far this season, they got smoked by A&M who won by 20. I think Mark Trakh is a good coach and they're located in a recruiting mecca, so I expect they'll soon emerge as a competitive PAC-12 team, but right now - after seeing how much Colorado, Utah, and Arizona have improved - I would say, they're looking at a tough conference season in 2019...

UCLA is also struggling this year. So far they're 8 and 5. They lost Jordin Canada, Monique Billings, and Kelly Hayes off of last year's dynamite team, but they still have Kennedy Burke, Michaela Onyenwere, Japreece Dean, Lajahna Drummer, and Chantel Horvat. (What ever happened to Sue and Kathy?) Nine of their fifteen players are freshmen or sophomores, so Coach Close has her work cut out. And by the way, one of those freshmen is Ahlana Smith - is that legal?

On Sunday they looked bad in the first half and turned it around in the second to beat USC. Onyenwere is nationally ranked as an offensive rebounder and Dean is a good shooter. They're a work in progress, but they look like they'll be in the mix by PAC-12 Tournament time.

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