I was concerned mostly with the UCLA loss the other day and then realized that the Lakers are going to be Kobe-less again for at least 6 weeks. That is going to be a rough venture for them. I was so optimistic, but that optimism is quickly fading.
As for UCLA. They have now played two good teams and lost both games. The Missouri game was tough because they pretty much never lose at home. The Duke game features what I think will be the top pick in next years draft. That kid Parker is freaking ridiculously good. Wow.
My biggest problem with the UCLA team so far is that they show for a half or so that they can play against anyone in the country and then fade down the stretch. I don’t know if it is a lack of conditioning or what, but they need to learn how to close out games and not give up such big runs. For such a potent offensive team they can look like a mess on that side of the ball in crucial situations.
I think that has to deal with not having a clear leader. I would say that the team is pretty self sustaining when it comes down to it. They don’t really need a clear cut leader on the court, because they don’t have any of those high maintenance guys that need to be put in their place. And that could be the problem. When things start going wrong they just don’t have anybody as of right now that will step up and right the ship.
I still have big hopes for this team in the Pac-12 and in the tournament, but there are some serious issues that need to be covered first.