Southern California Media On A Mission Against Ben Howland/UCLA Basketball

First let's start with Marcia Smith, the OC Register hack columnist who have made a name for herself by writing one clueless and ignorant columns after another. Her latest came last week following the Washington game which came with gems like this in a column dated January 28 (no link for Marcia's garbage):

The Bruins (15-4, 5-2) began the season ranked No. 4, which, Howland conceded, had more to do with UCLA's potential to repeat its recent past of three consecutive Pac-10 titles and Final Four appearances than the Bruins actually being the fourth-best team in the country.

After slipping another four spots in the latest Associated Press poll to No. 17, the Bruins would be lucky to finish fourth in their conference. At 5-2, the Bruins are in a three-way tie for second place, a position about which Howland said, "We were hoping we'd be at least one game above that (conference record) right now."

Hope and recent history are apparently what a lot of Bruins fans have. There is no widespread panic at Westwood about making a fifth consecutive NCAA tournament. Nobody has expressed great anxiety over having non-refundable airline tickets to Detroit for the 2009 Final Four.

No body knows how Marcia came up with the idea that us - Bruin alums/students/fans - took for granted that we were going to just waltz into the Final-4 this season, yet there she is making stuff up without providing any facts or numbers to back up re. the pulse of the Bruin Nation.

At least even a moron like Marcia admitted in her column that there was "no panic" in Westwood before last week. Still that didn't stop Bill Dwyre - the former EIC of the LAT sports section - to just make up a fake crisis in Westwood. According to Dwyre Howland would have been on the hot seat if things didn't go well this past week against Cal and Stanford. Dwyre writes in a classic concern trolling column entitled "UCLA answers its basketball fans' angst" (again no link for ignorant garbage from the traditional media):

This wasn't business as usual. There had been whispers. The Bruins were struggling, the swagger was gone. Howland was too strict. The school that has 11 national titles and scoffs at anything less suddenly didn't look as if it could be a contender. In recent games, the Bruins were taking more punches than they were landing.

One local columnist crowed that "nobody outside of Westwood is predicting a Final Four run for UCLA this year." Another simmered that Howland was boring, and so was his team.

All that made Thursday night much bigger than your normal game near the midpoint of the Pacific 10 Conference season.

The Bruins were tied for second place in a conference they have won the last three years. They entered with a 5-2 league record, same as their opponents, who were coached by Mike Montgomery, who made Stanford a perennial contender before trying the NBA and then returning to coach across the Bay this season.

Montgomery had his Golden Bears at 16-4, half a game better than UCLA's 15-4. They weren't ranked in the top 25, but UCLA, always getting at least some votes based on tradition, was at an uncomfortable No. 17. In Westwood, that's like being seen driving a Hyundai.

There were problems in River City. Problems with a capital P.

Get that? Dwyere is actually insinuating with a straight face that Howland would been on some kind of "hot seat" if Cal had pulled the upset last Thursday night in Pauley. To bolster this narrative LA Times highlighted three shameful and disgusting letters from purported "UCLA basketball fans" morons hurling insults at Coach Howland. I wonder if the LAT actually would run letters from UCLA fans showering Howland praise and admiration.

You can add this all up. This is nothing short of a ploy by the reporters and columnists in Southern California's mostly worthless traditional media to drive their time tested, boiler plate, lazy narrative of UCLA fans never being happy with a basketball coach unless he brings home a banner. Of course all of this is nonsense. We only hear garbage like this from someone like the Blagojevich of college basketball, who time and time again attacked UCLA alums, students, and fans for being unreasonable by cherrypicking the worst of the Souther California sports fan who tends to root for Trojan football and Bruin basketball at the same time.

What these people will never acknowledge and realize is how the makeup of Bruin Naiton has changed. The UCLA community is no longer dominated by certain segement of the fanbase who perhaps did get spoiled during the glorious run of Coach John R. Wooden. What these guys don't get and perhaps don't want to admit (because it would screw up their cute little narrative of "spoiled UCLA basketball fans") is how the overwhelming majority of UCLA basketball fans not only appreciate the incredible job the best UCLA basketball head coach since John R. Wooden has done in Westwood. They will not bother writing columns on how the overwhelming majority of Bruin basketball fans worship and adore the Caretaker of Westwood who has turned this place in college basketball's chamelot where once again the best of the west come in to become ball players under the best coach this game has to offer.

Instead these guys in Southern California's traditional media are intent on driving their stale narrative on a UCLA basketball coach being in the "hot seat" because he is not satisfying the so called unreasonable Bruin basketball fans. They will keep cherry picking rants and messages from certain bandwagoning losers who probably bought their first UCLA hoops paraphinilia following the miracle against Gonzaga. It is just lazy, ignorant behavior on the part of the media resulting in same old baseless and stale story lines. It's pathetic and probably just one more reason these guys are gradually going out of business.

GO BRUINS.

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