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UCLA basketball: A no-zone layer against Kansas

December 7, 2009 |  8:49 am

Ben For much of last week, UCLA Coach Ben Howland talked about trying a zone defense against top-ranked Kansas, but that never happened during Sunday's 73-61 loss at Pauley Pavilion.

The Bruins stuck to their trademark man-to-man for a couple of reasons.

First, Kansas is big but not as quick on the perimeter as teams such as Portland that have consistently beaten UCLA off the dribble.

Second, Kansas shoots with greater accuracy from outside.

"We watched film on them against zone, and they really attack it well,"  Howland said, adding: "It's harder to block out in zone coverage than it is in man coverage."

Even so, the Jayhawks penetrated enough to create problems and outscore UCLA 36-28 in the paint, which left Howland musing that maybe the zone "is something we should have looked at."

The Bruins still have concerns about being athletic enough -- at this point, at least -- to stay in front of the ball. Howland said they will continue to learn the zone in practice this week.

"There will be other teams where maybe it will be something to think about based on their personnel," he said.

-- David Wharton

Photo: Ben Howland. Credit: Victor Decolongon / Getty Images

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