Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Ah, That's a Shame

John Wooden must have been rolling in his grave, wondering what in the name of Sam Gilbert was going on with the UCLA Bruins on Monday night. And people thought the Walt Hazzard coaching era was tough in Westwood. (Pause to give Bruins fans a chance to look up Walt Hazzard.)

There will be those optimistic types noting that nobody expected the Bruins to get this far as the team will be locked and loaded for next year.


That thinking worked out well for Illinois this season, eh?

You only get so many chances to win a title. It's fair to say that Ben Howland and company blew it. Nice offense UCLA had in the second half. The Bruins, down by 20 at one point, would milk the shot clock down to the final seconds only to hoist an ill-conceived shot. This is what happens when you let assistant coach Donny Daniels run the offense. It was as if the Bruins were stalling to keep Florida from dunking once again. How many dunks was it going to take before Howland realized the press wasn't working? That vaunted UCLA defense netted six turnovers. Six.

But don't worry about those gutty little Bruins fans. Their lives are used to disappointment — they went to UCLA. As one Bruins fan eloquently put on their message board, "I’m happy with second place." And it's true, they are. Most of those students either failed to get into Berkley, so second-best has been the hallmark of their college career. At least they will have the USC football season to look forward to.

Championship Note

If a team from Southern California makes it to the finals of the College World Series, bet against them. (Even money says that Randy Youngman runs a similar joke in the Orange County newspaper this week.) Make more UCLA jokes in The Hater Nation Forums


adam b said...

umm, john wooden isn't dead.

NFLJennifer said...

After that game I bet he wished he was. Maybe then UCLA might have showed up to win one for "Coach"

bucky said...

I swear, there were more dunks last night than in that Louisville/ Houston Phi Slamma Jamma dunkathon 20 odd years ago. Only difference is that last night most of the dunking was done by one team.

BTW, the comparison to Illinois doesn't really work. Last year they were expected to go pretty far, maybe all the way, and they almost got there. Also, this season they lost two of their three main studs. Only Dee Brown returned. A better comparison might be Utah 1998.

Seitz said...

Umm, Adam, nobody in the Illini Nation believed that we were locked and loaded for this season. We all knew that last year was our window once it became clear that Deron was going to the NBA. That's what made last year so tough. We knew Dee and Augie would be good, but we lost three starters, including probably our two best players. Next year will be even worse, since EJ Gordon (and hopefully Derek Rose) doesn't get here until 2007.

UCLA, on the other hand, remains loaded, assuming no one gets stupid enough to leave. The last of the Lavin recruits have finally left the building.

So I get the snark, but snark only works if there's an element of truth to it.

NFL Adam said...

Utah, that year, also had Donny Daniels on his staff. The Bruins are doomed.

NFL Adam said...

I get it. UCLA is loaded and they have a lot of good recruits. I even posted this on your website (kind of funny). But I don’t think you should naturally expect to be back the following season. Injuries happen. Transfers happen. Sometimes players/recruits just don’t work out. It is so hard to make it that far. Remember, the Bruins went 15 years from losing in the 1980 title game to winning in 1995. And this was the first Final Four since that time. You have to take advantage of your opportunities when you get them.

Seitz said...

I'm not disagreeing with you about UCLA. It still hurts. But last year hurt a lot more because we all knew that Illinois would be good, but not great this year. We may never have a team that great again. In fact, I'm pretty sure last year's Illini would have beat the living shit out of every team in this year's tournament. Such are the breaks.

Arizona in 1998 couldn't duplicate what it did in 1997 despite having everyone back. But it softens the blow knowing a) that we can spend the off-season looking forward to next season, and b) they'll actually be better next season with everyone a year older and a healthy Josh Shipp, c) they've got a coach that doesn't suck for the foreseeable future.

I think the reasonable expectation next year should be for a return to the final four, but it's quite possible that they simply won't live up to those expectations.

Tim Moore said...

i cant believe that my Bruins made it that far, overcoming adversity, just to freaking lose to Florida of all teams. awesome blog! link exchange? my url is http://spsports.blogspot.com

Squeeze Play Sports

Richard Cranium said...

Hey, enough about Wooden. The man is great, and he's going through a rough time right now. He's not making fun of you by wishing you were dead for waking up next to Adam every morning. No, he's fighting for his life in the hospital bed while you are kicking him while he's down. Just admit it, Adam screwed up. Wouldn't be the first time. Damn Haters.

Kramer said...

Wooden is such a young guy, his illness really makes you think. If it could happen to him, it could happen to anybody.