Before I get started, I should admit that a very small part of me actually wouldn't have minded if Southern Cal won last night. I would have loved for the Pac-10 to have put three teams through to the elite eight.
But I also gotta say that I really enjoyed the end of last night's game. And its not because Southern Cal lost. Its because of the way they lost.
You see, all too often we are asked to suffer fools who bend our ears with clichés about how there is really no difference between universities. It's all the same. Everybody does it. You're no better than us. You know the line.
And then we have what happened in East Rutherford last night. Something that so clearly and concisely demonstrates why we are so proud to be Bruins, to have a coach like Ben Howland, and classy players like AA, DC, LRMAM and the rest, and why some of the aspersions cast on our friends across town may be based more in truth than rivalry. You know what I'm talking about.
Timmeh!!! (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Here's Adande on Timmeh's being Timmeh:What a shame that such an effective USC game plan, one that nullified Tyler Hansbrough and created wide-open shots for 28 minutes Friday, apparently didn't include the words "box out" or "keep cool."
USC, the better team for much of the night, went down because it couldn't keep North Carolina off the boards. It didn't help that Coach Tim Floyd picked up a seal-the-deal technical foul when USC was still within six in the final minute.
I'm  searching the memory banks to recall the last time I saw a coach get a technical foul so late in an NCAA tournament game that wasn't completely out of reach. It happened with 49 seconds left when Gibson received his fifth foul for an illegal screen. A shaky call, sure, but no cause for Floyd to throw his coaching notes on the court when a couple of missed free throws and a three-pointer could have brought the Trojans to within three.
"Just disappointed," Floyd said. "Wanted to keep playing. Disappointed with Taj's situation, he was fouling out of the game. A technical is a part of the game. It just happened. I can't comment on the call. Or his fourth foul. So you sit there and you exorcise frustration from time to time. Which I did."
Nicely done Timmeh. Biggest game of the year, and you couldn't manage to avoid another meltdown. Good time to "exorcise" the frustration. Classic. As Katz puts it:
He might as well have tossed a white flag.
It doesn't come as a surprise to anyone here, though. We've seen this before.
Timmeh Unhinged at Pauley (`06)
And those are just the polite descriptions of Timmeh's embarrassing game end display. Here's one that a little more unvarnished:Tim Floyd's team was down 6 points with 48 seconds left on the clock. They were in the game. Was it likely they were going to win? No. Was it impossible? Of course not.
At least, it wasn't impossible until Tim Floyd decided that he was a two-year-old, and threw two pieces of paper on the court. He earned a technical foul, gifted Carolina two free throws that made it a three-possession game, which essentially put it out of reach. The Trojans went from being in the game to not being in the game, because Tim Floyd wanted to act like a child and throw things. If he can't control himself, USC's athletic department really should make more of an effort to make sure he has his binky with him on the sidelines.
Of course, it's not like this kind of behavior spills over to his players. It was a tough foul, and a heartbreaking loss. But, surely, Timmeh's guys took it like men and congratulated UNC on their hard fought victory. Or maybe not, according to Bolch:Nobody expected him to be here, and yet, when it was over, it hurt so much that Gabe Pruitt had to pull his jersey over his face to hide his anguish.
The USC junior guard wanted to take one more unlikely step forward in the NCAA tournament so badly that he couldn't even bring himself to walk through the handshake line, planting himself on the Trojans' bench inconsolably.
Believe it or not, this post isn't about schadenfreude. It's a reminder to all of us about how great it is to have our team, and our coach. No matter what happens later today, we can, and should be, extremely proud of the men representing UCLA. It would be great to win. But, either way, it's great to be a Bruin.