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Morning Dish

December 13, 2002 Conference Notes No Comments

The Morning Dish – Saturday, December 14th, 2002

by Brian Strong

When a team is struggling the way that UCLA (1-2) has early in this young season, they’re looking for anything to help turn things around. They may have gotten that thing on Friday in the form of newly reinstated sophomore Andre Patterson. Patterson missed the first three games of the season while taking classes at Santa Monica City College to get himself eligible grades-wise. He will rejoin classes at UCLA again when the next quarter begins on January 6. In the meantime, starting tonight against Portland at Pauley Pavilion (8:00 ET), he will join his Bruin teammates on the court.

Patterson was by no means a world beater last season statistically (2.3 ppg, 2.1 rpg, .500 FG), but his quickness at small forward will be a huge help to UCLA. The Bruins’ run-and-gun style has been stifled by an awkward lineup thus far this season and will be aided solidly by Patterson’s presence.

“Our staff and team are delighted to have Andre back with us,” commented UCLA head coach Steve Lavin. “We have missed [his] presence both offensively and defensively..and his work ethic will immediately help our team.”
UCLA is being given a chance to respond to a poor start. When things have started as badly as they have, a little shakeup, as tiny as this may seem, may be all they need. A teammate that they have been missing, who is happy to be back contributing may help turn things around before they head too far down the wrong road. Even if he doesn’t make them Final Four material, at the very least, we can hope he steers them away from any more home losses to teams like San Diego….please.

Side Dishes

Marcus out several more weeks: Western Kentucky’s star center Chris Marcus hopes to return from his nagging ankle injury sometime in early January. He has yet to play this season and had his second surgery of 2002 on Wednesday. Marcus originally had surgery back in June when screws were put in place to support a broken talus bone. WKU’s Sun Belt Conference season opens on January 4 at Middle Tennessee. The Hilltoppers would love to have their big man back for that.

Tark Backlash: Alleged dirty pool by “the Shark,” former Fresno State coach Jerry Tarkanian, has prompted the Bulldogs to put themselves on two years of probation. A NCAA letter of inquiry was presented, which dealt with violations between the years of 1998 to 2002, involving one freshman and one transfer’s initial eligibility as well as meals violations and practice violations. The NCAA will meet in February and rule on this case at the same time they will deal with the University of Michigan’s issues. Word on the street is that they may lay down even harsher penalites than the ones self-imposed by Fresno.

Today/Tonight’s Menu:

• Keep your “eye” on a powerhouse daytime double dip. CBS features No. 12 Florida at No. 14 Maryland (2:00 ET) followed by No. 21 Michigan State at No. 16 Kentucky (4:00 ET).

• In-state rivals hit the floor as Purdue squares off with No. 6 Indiana (8:00 ET). Can freshman Bracey Wright can continue to live up to the hype? So far he’s been stellar.

• No. 5 Oregon at Pepperdine – The Waves host a Pac 10 team at Firestone Fieldhouse for the first time since 1985. They will once again push Gonzaga in the West Coast Conference but face off against the Lukes (Ridnour and Jackson) tonight.

That’s it for Saturday. Enjoy your couch time.

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