UCLA Coach Ben Howland gave the glass-is-half-full stance a try.
The Bruins are tops in the Pac-12 in turnover margin. They also are No. 1 in field goal defense in conference games. But one thing kept creeping back into the discussion.
The Bruins are tied for first in the Pac-12 standings, but Howland said “we’re not going to win it continuing on the path we’re on rebounding.”
UCLA ranks last among conference teams in rebound margin … and it seems to be getting worse. The Bruins have been outrebounded by eight or more in the last four games.
“It’s alarming, and it has been alarming for some time,” Howland said.
Howland said he has talked “until I’m blue in the face,” about rebounding. Whether it sinks in when UCLA plays California on Thursday night remains to be seen.
“It’s something you got to get into your mind, that you’re going to go to the boards,” freshman forward Shabazz Muhammad said. “Some guys stand and watch, or you kind of leak out. It’s something you have to take notice of.”
The Bruins have offset it some by forcing turnovers. They were outrebounded, 49-36, by Washington but also forced 19 turnovers.
UCLA has been outrebounded an average of 41.0-34.9 in Pac-12 games.
Howland said the deficit, in part, can be attributed to the Bruins' desire to get out and run.
“That’s AAU ball, that’s what you do, ‘I want to get out there first and score,’ ” Howland said. “You see it in games during the summer. There are not a lot of great blockouts going on.
“You can’t push it unless you get the stops. Guys are anxious to get out and get going and they’re not rebounding.”