Thursday, January 22, 2009

Facing the Cougars -- bouncing back?

Some may have noticed that I didn't post immediately after the Bruins lost to Arizona State on Saturday. It's pretty tough to win when you don't score a field goal for 12 minutes. ASU's defense was good -- they use a fairly complex zone -- but there was something fundamentally wrong with the way the Bruins approached the end of the game. They don't seem to have that closing instinct yet, though some of the Freshmen have definitely come a long way. But after that loss, I feel a little bit of trepidation. I think the Bruins on the right night could beat almost any team in the country, but there's also a tendency to play down to the competition, which truly great teams seldom do.

All that is prologue to worrying a bit about tonight's game with Washington State. The Cougars have often posed problems for the Bruins, for reasons I don't fully understand. I hope the Arizona State loss was the kind that encourages them to redouble their efforts to play smarter rather than the kind that allows them and others to get the idea that they are vulnerable. We'll get a start on assessing that tonight.

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