Final Four - UCLA vs Memphis

Posted: Saturday, April 05, 2008 by Travis Cody in

I read one of the more inane leads to a story about the game today.

Should be easy to tell who wins the UCLA-Memphis game. Just look at the scoreboard.

Uhm...duh! OK, I understand what the writer was trying to convey. His point? If Memphis plays its normal up tempo high scoring style, getting the score into the 80's, then they'll likely win.

But come on! You'd be able to tell who wins any game by looking at the scoreboard and seeing which team had more points!

Most writing about sports is like this though. Pundits state the obvious and sports fans nod sagely in agreement or shake fists vehemently in protest. It's all part of the fun.

What do I think about UCLA vs Memphis? I think that it comes down to whether the Bruins can take advantage of Memphis and its tendency to be careless with the ball. I think UCLA has the experience and athletic ability to play with the Tigers. Memphis will have to use its size and play a physical game to force tempo and wear the Bruins down.

UCLA is off to a good start. They seem a step quicker to loose balls and they are shooting well from the outside. Memphis has pressed, but the Bruins have handled it pretty easily so far.

UCLA has been able to run its offense effectively. They have gotten back well in defensive transition

However, Memphis is holding UCLA to one shot. Memphis has started to control its defensive boards, which allows them to get out on the break. They just caught UCLA with poor floor balance, resulting in some easy transition baskets. The Tigers break out to a five point lead at the under 16 minute time out.

UCLA is running an effective pick and roll offense and Memphis is having some trouble defending it. The Bruins have been able to get inside the paint easily, either with strong feeds into the post or with dribble penetration.

The Bruins haven't been able to handle the size of the Tigers' big back court. Chris Douglas-Roberts has been able to get any shot he wants, and Derek Rose has penetrated effectively.

UCLA trails by a point at the under 12 minute time out. This is a really good game so far, as I expected.

The frenetic pace at which Memphis likes to play can be contagious. The Tigers are able to make most teams panic and run up and down the floor with them. They've forced UCLA into that kind of chaos a couple of times, and now the Bruins are starting to get careless and take bad shots.

Memphis is up by five at the under eight minute time out. UCLA has already used two of its times out to slow the tempo and get itself back under control. Not having those times out late in the game could be a factor.

The Tigers are tightening the screws, defending the pick and roll much better than they did earlier in the game. In fact, all the things that UCLA was doing well early are being taken away. Not only has Memphis played bigger and stronger since the under eight minute break, but they seem quicker too.

Still, UCLA is hanging in. The Bruins have put some fouls on the inside players for Memphis. They've been able to force the Tigers to shoot from the outside and get a few offensive rebounds.

The one thing the Bruins haven't been able to do is defend against Rose. He's going wherever he wants on the floor and UCLA can't match up with him. If they switch defenders, then Douglas-Roberts takes over. The Bruins just don't have enough size in the back court, and they don't have a quickness advantage either.

Memphis has the lead by three at halftime.

UCLA picks up the third foul on two of the Memphis inside defenders, but the Tigers have still been able to extend the lead.

UCLA is making so many small mistakes, very similar to the kinds of mistakes that both Michigan State and Texas made. I think UCLA has a good game plan, but it isn't being executed consistently and a lot of that has to do with the way Memphis is playing defense.

Memphis had the lead up in double digits, but UCLA has scrapped to cut it back to seven at the under 16 minute time out.

UCLA put fouls on the big guys for Memphis, but now the Bruins aren't working to get the ball inside to take advantage of it. They keep settling for jump shots, and the excellent freshman Kevin Love isn't involved enough in the offense.

And now UCLA is trying to be more physical with the Memphis guards, resulting in a bit of foul trouble for the Bruins.

Memphis is dominating. They are bigger, stronger, quicker, more poised and more determined than UCLA. The Bruins look intimidated.

At the under eight minute time out, Memphis is up by 10 and the UCLA point guard just picked up his fourth foul.

Memphis is in control. The Tigers have an 11 point lead with less than three minutes to play, and UCLA shows no signs that it can make any kind of run. The Bruins will start fouling, and we'll see if Memphis can continue to shoot well from the foul line.

I appreciate Memphis after this game much more than I have all season. The Tigers are focused on the goal, and most of the chaos has gone out of their game. They controlled UCLA in this game and will play for the national championship on Monday. If they win, they will have a record of 38-1. No other college program has ever won 38 games in a season.

Congratulations to UCLA on an excellent season.


  1. Marsha says:

    haauu.....buffing my nails on my shirt over here! One down and one to go!!
    (I feel the need to root for

  1. Jeff B says:

    TV...I don't need no stinking TV

    I got Travis comentary, what could be better? Oh ya, if it were a football game. Ha!

    Condolences to Katherine when she comes by.

    Thanks for another great recap.

  1. Marsha: Congratulations! Memphis really impressed me today. Based on what I saw, now I have to give them the edge against KU Monday.

    Jeff: Thanks dude. Only five more months until pre-season!

  1. I just HAD to come here today. All I can say and all I'm going to say is...

    GO TIGERS GO!!!!!!!

  1. sigh...oh well...been here before

    (thanks jeff)

  1. Condolences to Katherine...but an incredible job by the Tigers...

    One more win for them means a big win for me...