Thanks again to Menelaus, Telemachus, Tydides, Ajax and everyone else for holding the fort down and keeping the focus on Thursday. I will be back early Wednesday morning as we are enjoying yet another beautiful and gorgeous day in the Emerald City (who said it rains here all the time?).
In any event I wanted to drop by and make sure we didn't forget an important point from Saturday night's game which hopefully will come into play this week. From Jim Alexander in the Press Enterprise:
"There was one point, I think we were down by 10 and just needed that little bit of push," Darren Collison said. "And the crowd got up on their feet and started cheering. It's little things like that that get us going."
The noise, and the emotion, created momentum. Those attributes didn't put the ball in the basket for the Bruins, but there wasn't much of that happening anyway.
But that emotion had its benefits at the other end of the floor. From a 36-26 deficit early in the second half, UCLA clawed back with its defense. Over the final 18 minutes of the game, Texas A& M made 5 of 22 shots from the field, committed five turnovers and made just one of four free throws.
And when Kevin Love blocked a shot, grabbed the ball, drew a foul and let loose with a primal scream right in front of some of his team's supporters ... well, it was obvious the emotion was flowing in every direction.
"I just wanted to get the crowd on our side," Love said. "I wanted to get the momentum going for us. I felt like at that time the momentum was going our way. Basketball's an emotional game, whether you like to show it or not. I was just very into it.
"I think I flexed so much, my muscles kind of hurt. And I stuck out my tongue so much that, you know, it was pretty crazy."
This very scenario is what drove UCLA's players to succeed from the moment it became apparent a No. 1 seed was possible. This is what Ben Howland laid out for his players: the opportunity to play the first weekend of the NCAA tournament before their own fans, and to play the second weekend within a six-hour drive -- or that one-hour flight.
So if you haven't done it yet (aren't our students on spring break) make plans to get on the road and turn Phoenix (Bruin) Blue. See you here early Wed. morning.