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Advance Look at UCLA: An opposing coach assesses the Bruins

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

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UCLA's Jordan Adams (Getty Images)

In the "Advance Look" series, Yahoo Sports will speak to coaches who have faced some of the nation's top teams in preseason exhibition games and share their post-game thoughts and a scouting report. Up next: Cal State San Bernardino coach Jeff Oliver on UCLA:

It might surprise some folks what aspect of UCLA impressed Cal State San Bernardino coach Jeff Oliver during the Bruins' 96-66 victory.

Oliver left Pauley Pavilion on Wednesday night raving about UCLA's potent fast-break attack.

"They really killed us in transition all night," Oliver said. "That's the No. 1 thing that ultimately doomed us was that. I thought we defended their sets pretty well. They just killed us in transition. And with them being so big, I was a bit surprised by how well they ran."

[Related: Bruins get big boost with surprise 5-star hoops commitment]

Whereas UCLA was known for its slow-paced, methodical attack during much of the Ben Howland era, new coach Steve Alford followed through with his pledge to give his team the freedom to get out and run. The UCLA backcourt flourished in that system, with Jordan Adams scoring a game-high 25 points and Norman Powell and freshman Zach Lavine tallying 15 apiece.

Below are Oliver's other thoughts on UCLA. He assessed 6-foot-8 Kyle Anderson's ability to play point guard, explained how he'd defend UCLA and offered glowing praise for the scoring ability of Adams and the potential of Lavine.

1. I think an up-tempo system really fits Powell, Lavine, Adams, all of them. They're really perimeter-oriented. Their points in the paint will come off transition. They won't really come in a half-court set from what I've seen. Three quarters of their points against us were probably in the paint, and they were all in transition. So for them, it's essential that they get out and go.

2. It's going to be difficult [having Anderson play point guard on offense but not defend the position on defense]. From what I've seen, he won't be able to guard Pac-12 guards at all. He'll have to guard small forwards most of the year. They're going to get caught up in some cross switches in transition sometimes. I like Anderson. I don't know if the point is his spot to be honest with you. He does a lot of really good things. He's a tremendous passer and rebounder. But I think they get up the floor in transition faster when other guards handle the ball. But he does have good vision and he can get the ball up the floor to those athletes, so if that's what they choose to do, I think they'll be fine.

3. I think Bryce Alford is solid. I think he's super savvy. His basketball IQ is off the charts. I know he's a tremendous shooter. He was off last night, but that was a freshman in his first game at Pauley Pavilion. There were probably some nerves there, but I think he'll settle in. He can give them some minutes at point guard too. They've got enough guys who can handle it that they can look at the matchups and whoever has the best matchup, they can be the one to bring it up.

4. I thought Lavine was a tremendous player, a great athlete who can shoot the ball from the perimeter and has an intermediate game too. I was really impressed with him.

5. I thought [Adams] was better than Shabazz [Muhammad] last year. I thought he was the best player on the floor for them in terms of being a good teammate and also basketball-wise he was better. He looks like he has gotten bigger and stronger. He can score inside. He can put it on the deck. He has an intermediate game. He can shoot it from three. He's their best scorer for sure.

6. [Tony Parker] still has to develop a back-to-the-basket post game. We weren't going to double him last night. We were going to have them beat us in the post instead of on the perimeter. You've got to pick your poison.

7. We haven't run much against zone, so last night I thought it was easier for us to attack them when they were in man-to-man. We tried to put Parker in a bunch of pick-and-roll situations and he wasn't hedging particularly well on it. So, yeah, I liked them in man-to-man when we played them. They have tremendous length in their zone. Their zone is very, very big. We didn't have much post presence when they were in zone.

8. I think they can definitely compete with an Arizona and Oregon. I think some of it may depend on how good [Wanaah Bail] is and whether he can give them a post presence and help them defend and rebound in the paint. From what I hear, he can step out and shoot it, but they have a bunch of guys who can do that. Can he score in the post and give them some post presence? If that's the case and they get eight to 10 points from him down there, then I think they'll be tough to beat.

More from the Advance Look Series:

An opposing coach breaks down Louisville
An opposing coach breaks down Arizona
An opposing coach breaks down Michigan State

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Jeff Eisenberg is the editor of The Dagger on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at daggerblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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