The Missouri Tigers will face a UCLA Bruins lineup that will feature three freshmen in their starting lineup, as Mizzou will play their first true road game of the season. Despite the youthful lineup, a slow start has led to reports that Bruin’s head coach Ben Howland’s job is in jeopardy.
Bruins Report Online reported that its “sources” were beginning to say Howland, the man who took the Bruins to three consecutive Final Fours, might not make it through this season.
Howland seemed unfazed, “I just do everything I can to improve and grow. I can’t help you in substantiating anything. Everything at UCLA since I’ve been here is the same. I’ll be evaluated at the end of the season.”
6’9 center Tony Parker tweeted last week that he was unhappy in Southern Cal. The Atlanta native said it was nothing more than being homesick around the holidays, but could it be a sample of the issues starting to creep up in the Bruins’ program.
As you watch tonight’s game, look for this game to come down to who controls the tempo which will fall on the shoulders of both team’s point guards–Phil Pressey of Mizzou and Larry Drew II of UCLA. Drew, the son of former Tiger player Larry Drew, has 102 assists and 19 turnovers. In the Bruins latest win, a 91-78 final over Fresno State, Drew II had 10 assists and one turnover.
The last time Mizzou played at UCLA was in 1975, when the school had 10 national championships. Of course as a Mizzou fan you know when UCLA won their 11th title. It came after Tyus Edney’s Miracle in 1995 in Boise Idaho…4.8 seconds…that snake like slithering layup to steal a 75-74 win for the Bruins over the Tigers in the NCAA tournament. UCLA went on to win the championship that season. Edney is back with UCLA…he’s the director of basketball operations.