UCLA Basketball: Can UCLA Stay Consistent Following the Win Against the Utes?


The Bruins came up with a huge win against Utah last night in what was undoubtedly their best game of the season. They played a complete forty minutes against the #11 team in the nation and proved that they have the potential to be a tournament team. But can they turn this win into consistent success leading them into a possible tournament berth? We’ll take a look at what it’ll take for the Bruins to keep the dream alive.

Don’t Be Afraid to Mix the Defense Up

UCLA Bruins
UCLA Bruins /

UCLA Bruins

Steve Alford likes to incorporate the zone defense due to the lack of athleticism at the guard positions, and their inability to stay with their man when they run a man defense. What the zone does is it keeps the low post clogged up so there usually aren’t any open layups due to the help defense swarming on the man in the middle. It also covers up for the lack of athleticism guards may have when guarding ball handlers.

If a good team can spread the ball around the perimeter quickly it’s usually going to end up with an open look on the three-point line. While zone may work well for us against teams without a good shooter, it flat out won’t work when the opposing team can shoot the lights out (like we’ve seen several times this year). Whether that’s due to a lack of effort when closing on shooters, or just a bad scheme fit, it has definitely hurt UCLA against good teams.

Alford has shown willingness to play man defense sometimes, but only when we’ve already given up 15 unanswered points. He needs to switch it up early in the game and keep the opposing offense on its heels. Whether that’s switching off between man and zone every two or three plays or even throwing in some full court press just to throw the offense off.

Feed the Post

December 3, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins forward Tony Parker (23) reacts during the 73-45 against the Cal State Fullerton Titans at Pauley Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Tony Parker has shown that he is a dominant force in the paint throughout the season. His vast improvement from last season is one of the bright spots and the Bruins need to continue utilizing in order to be consistent. He’s been banged up the last couple of games, not even traveling with the team for the Oregon game, but he is going to be key if the Bruins are looking to have success down the stretch.

Kevon Looney has established himself as one of the better freshman in the country. He uses his long arms to reach up over just about anybody and tally up the rebounds. He makes it look so easy too with that incredible wingspan (7’1!!!!). His post game is solid but his slender frame doesn’t allow him to bang it out down low as well as Parker does. Looney‘s weak point is his jump shot, and while everybody expected that to be the case he’s surprised us all with how above average it actually is.

One of the bigger contributors as of late has been Thomas Welsh, who stepped in admirably when Parker went down. He didn’t look as tentative as he did early on in the season, showing off some tenacity on several dunks he simply would not have attempted before.

The Bench Needs to Produce

Simply put, our bench has been awful throughout the season. We don’t get the production we need because we don’t have enough players on the team that can produce. Everybody is gonna need to pitch in from the bench, i.e. Noah Allen, Thomas Welsh, and Gyorgy Goloman.