March Madness: Can UCLA Win with Slumping Offense?

John LewisSenior Writer IMarch 26, 2008

The UCLA Bruins played their first two rounds of the NCAA tournament in Anaheim, but their offense seemed to be playing in a different time zone.

As No. 1 seed UCLA prepares to play No. 12 seed Western Kentucky in the Sweet 16 on Thursday, the Bruins are trying to light a match under their lagging offense.

UCLA beat the Texas A&M Aggies in the second round by only two points, and junior Darren Collison and freshman Kevin Love combined for 40 of the teams' 51 points.  Take either player out of the picture, and UCLA is planning their offseason

Can the Bruins continue to survive at this pace?

Love and Collison cannot have an off night because they are getting very little offensive help from the rest of the team.

Senior Josh Shipp has scored a total of six points in two games and sophomore Russell Westbrook has scored only 14 points in that same span. These two averaged more than 12 points per game during the regular season. UCLA needs more out of them.

The one thing keeping the PAC-10 champs moving on is their defense. Behind Love’s seven blocks, the team held the Aggies to 49 points.

The Bruins better have a plan to stop the Hilltoppers’ senior tandem of Courtney Lee and Tyrone Brazelton, who together average 23 points per game.

The Sun Belt Conference champions would love nothing more than to knock off the top-seeded Bruins.  And unless UCLA’s offense improves, they might get that chance.