So once again our Ben Ball warriors will be taking on John Calipari's Memphis Tigers in the Big Dance. We will get to the Tigers soon enough. We already know about Calipari's UCLA snark before the Dance started couple of weeks ago. I am sure we are going to hear lot of the same doubting and hating of our Ben Ball warriors heading into Saturday as everyone will be hoping for the big bad Tigers to roll over and show up our warriors.
Don't be surprised if we hear more worrying and doubting from Chicken Littles in our own backyard. Frank Burlison called out those chicken littles after the Xavier game:
Sure, the sky -- and season -- came dangerously close to crashing on Bruin heads a week ago Saturday night in the Honda Center before they escaped Orange County with a second-round NCAA Tournament win over Texas A&M.
And, yes, Western Kentucky, a No. 12 seed, did slice away all but four points from the 21-point edge UCLA held at intermission Thursday night in a West Regional semifinal before the foul- and turnover-plagued Bruins recouped and won by "only" 10 points.
Couple those two games with three or four "near escapes" down the stretch against Pacific-10 Conference competition - escapes made possible, some believe, by a perceived officiating oversight or ineptitude - and faith in a coach and program that had a 96-16 record over three seasons was teetering.
So I suppose UCLA's performance against a very good, 30-win Xavier team, which resulted in an eased-up 76-57 victory, calmed some nerves -- for the time being.
Of course, the Bruins' opponent next Saturday night in the San Antonio Alamodome in the program's third consecutive Final Four appearance will be one of two very good teams, South Regional top seeds Memphis and Texas, who meet today in Houston.
So there will soon be reason enough to resume fretting over the disappearance of Josh Shipp's jump shot, the inconsistent play of guards Darren Collison and Russell Westbrook, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute's 37 different injuries and, of course, Howland's "over-controlling" of UCLA's offense.
And, come Saturday, Howland's Bruins will be prepared to do all they can keep that sky from crashing down one more time.
For all the Chicken Littles who want to know what our guys are all about:
Thanks to ewcorpuz for putting together yet another masterpiece.
It certainly got me fired up and helped me get in the right frame of mind heading into Saturday.