UCLA men's basketball coach Ben Howland got a chance to see his team in a live-game scenario against Cal State Fullerton on Thursday afternoon at the Los Angeles Sports Arena. He couldn't say much about it, per NCAA rules, but it was clear he liked the scrimmage format.
"It's really good, I really like it," Howland said of the private scrimmage format that allows two Division I teams to play a private scrimmage with no reported score or statistics. "It was a dress rehearsal for a real game. We had the team going through warm-ups, we used Pac-12 officials, and there were media timeouts. We played it as a normal game."
Howland didn't use the word education, but it was clear that's what his staff was focused on for the scrimmage. With no official stats or score, it was a chance for Howland and his staff to ascertain what needs to be worked on before the season starts in two weeks with Loyola Marymount.
"The team is aware we've got to get a lot better," Howland said during a teleconference on the drive back from the Sports Arena. "We've got a lot of work to do. I'm going to go home and watch the tape now."
Howland talked about defensive issues in transition and off-the-dribble defense, both typical early-season problems. Offensively, Howland said the team hasn't focused on it during the first batch of practices this preseason and has a long way to go in building out offensive plays for the season.