February 2, 2008

Ben Howland talks Bruin hoops

UCLA head basketball coach Ben Howland had a teleconference on Friday to discuss the latest and greatest about his Bruin basketball team. Howland talks about today's opponent the hard charging Arizona Wildcats. The Cats are coming into Pauley playing their best basketball of the season and for good measure ESPN is having their Game Day telecast from the UCLA campus.

Anything new on Lorenzo Mata-Real?

Howland: "Yeah, thank goodness, there is good news. He had an x-ray last night after the game, which was negative. We had him take a MRI this morning (Friday Feb. 1), which was also negative.

"So in terms of his status for Arizona, I don't know about the soreness issue and that type of thing. I'm just relieved because long term, he should be okay.

Have you had a chance to break down the Arizona tape of their game with USC?

Howland: "I didn't breakdown the tape per se, but we have broke down the tape from a number of their recent games. I did watch that game last night when I got home from 11 to 1 in the morning, but I couldn't rewind things, but boy were they (Arizona) were really impressive.

"They (Arizona) beat a very good team to beat SC over there and they were down in both the first half, I think it was 28-21 and then again in the second half like 47-41 and each time they fought their way back. It was a really impressive win.

"Chase Budinger was fantastic. Obviously Jawann McClellan is playing like a veteran senior. His body looks great; I mean he had a block last night where he was top of the square on one of those blocks. He had a couple of huge offensive rebounds off of missed free throws late in the game that were huge plays.

"Jerryd Bayless just watching him on film, he is really, really good. Jordan Hill is playing great. I think that Nic Wise, you just look at his body and how strong he is and just what a great job he did in the off-season between last year and this year.

"Those five guys right there are very, very impressive.

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