Monday, September 23

[NCAA Championship]: Team well-rested for championship game


Bruins no longer have final exams; nine play 10 minutes in semifinals compared to six Gators

INDIANAPOLIS “”mdash; Of all the numbers UCLA coach Ben Howland
ingested following his Bruins’ victory over LSU in the Final
Four on Saturday, the one he may have been most pleased with was
30.

That was the number of minutes logged by freshman Luc Richard
Mbah a Moute, the most played by any Bruin on Saturday.

Although neither UCLA nor Florida played in a nip-and-tuck
contest to advance to tonight’s national championship game,
the Bruins had nine players register more than 10 minutes, while
the Gators only had six.

Being well rested had been a problem for UCLA last week during
the semifinals and final of the Oakland Regional, as many Bruins
took their finals late at night. Now that the Bruins survived until
the Final Four and to Spring Break, UCLA assistant coach Kerry
Keating said the way it worked out couldn’t have suited the
team better.

“Being on exams at that time was probably the greatest
thing to happen to us,” Keating said.

While most other schools’ finals week don’t coincide
with the NCAA Tournament, the majority of them are in the middle of
an active semester, while UCLA is officially on vacation until
today.

FRIENDS FOR LATER: Florida’s Joakim Noah
and UCLA’s Mbah a Moute and Alfred Aboya all are at least in
part from Cameroonian descent. But according to Noah, there will be
no love lost between the opening tip and the final horn.

“I know (UCLA) has a couple of guys from Cameroon on their
team. After the game we’ll probably talk but right now
(they’re) the enemy. I’m not really worried about
showing (them) any love.”

INJURY UPDATE: Ryan Hollins, who suffered a
right knee contusion just above his kneecap Friday morning in
practice, played 17 minutes on Saturday against LSU.

The senior center didn’t miss a shot from the field,
making both of his field goals and both of his free throws en route
to scoring six points.

After breaking his nose Wednesday in practice, center Lorenzo
Mata played with a protective mask on Saturday. It didn’t
seem to bother the sophomore, as Mata played 17 minutes and grabbed
eight rebounds, more than either LSU’s Glen Davis or Tyrus
Thomas.

DRIBBLERS: UCLA’s victory over LSU on
Saturday was the program’s 90th win in the NCAA Tournament,
moving the Bruins into second place alone behind Kentucky’s
99 wins. Before Saturday, UCLA was tied with North Carolina with 89
wins. … The Bruins are 11-1 all-time in national championship
games. Their one loss came to Louisville in 1980 in Indianapolis.
… LSU’s 45 points, 32 percent shooting, and four assists
were all season-lows. … For only the second time this season, LSU
did not make a 3-pointer. … If UCLA wins on Monday, it would mark
the fourth consecutive season that a team defeated two teams from
the same conference in the Final Four en route to winning the
national championship. … Arron Afflalo on the secret to
maximizing the frustration of the opposing team: “You
don’t try to look into their eyes too much,” Afflalo
said. “Scoreboard tells the story.”

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