Bumped. Let's hope the team is as focused as rfirpo, who in last 24 hours has been en fuego. GO BRUINS. - N
Thursday's game against VCU is going to be the most exciting and intense game of the year--and I don't even think it's close. Thinking of the CAL, USC, and Washington road games?--think again, those were cupcakes in comparison.
The crowd in Philly will be buzzing with anticipation, waiting to see VCU have its shot to rip into a UCLA team who made it to three consecutive final fours. People will be there, begging for the little guy to stick it to us. If VCU hits the first basket of the game-the crowd will roar; if VCU goes on a 5-0 run with a key three pointer thrown in, the crowd will go bezerk. They will taunt us, shout overrated, and belittle our program. Make no mistake about it: this game will be possession to possession of pure intensity and desire. It is the game of the year to date.
Our recent opening round NCAA Tournament games have been a little slow. The crowd expected blow-outs, and they got them. The cheers were muted, and it seemed the fans weren't completely focused. And that was understandable, as it seemed the games were second to the arena atmosphere, t-shirt booths, and tournament merchandize lines. No one had to be intense--everyone could be relaxed.
Well Thursday's game will be different. People will be tuning in around the country to watch UCLA lose. I hate to say it, but Seth Davis started a story-line that will put people in front of the TV hoping for carnage. Everyone who picked UCLA will be praying for their "I told you so" moment.
I've heard some people talk about the game suggesting that we need to have an "us against the world mentality." Well, we don't need to try to foster that mentality--because it's a freakin' reality. It is us against the world. We are being portrayed as the team who is overrated, as the team who will be surprised, and as the team who won't be prepared. Seth Davis doesn't like us, Fox Sports didn't like us, and bracket pickers everywhere are taking VCU. And the President--he doesn't like us either. They think we are garbage, last years news with DII talent and underperforming freshman. They don't say it, but based on their picks--they must think Howland forgot how to coach.
And so, yes, all those naysayers will be watching. You can count on it. They will be drooling for a VCU win. When VCU scores their hearts will race, and the VCU fans and every other team's but UCLA's will cheer--desperate to see UCLA go down. And the City of Philadelphia will also be cheering, rooting for the little guy. And the most desperate cheers-they'll be coming from the thousands of Villanova fans in attendance and at bars all over Philly. It will be 10'Oclock PM there, but they'll be watching--and praying. See, for all the talk about UCLA going down early, deep down inside, Nova fans and the Nova team are probably wondering--is UCLA really that bad? Didn't they go to 3 straight final fours? Don't they have an all-american point guard? Don't they have essentially the same record as us?? Don't they have a tradition of excellence which makes ours look like, well, nothing?
That's right. Of all the cheering against the Bruins, it will be the Nova fans who will be the most desperately in favor of VCU. Because they know what we know--UCLA CAN BEAT ANYBODY. They are hoping against all hope that VCU wins, because then they won't have to play us. Because if they do play us, they will be putting everything on the line against the most storied proram in the Nation. At home, a higher seed, with the pressure to prove that the Big East is the best conference--that's a lot of pressure on Nova against little old UCLA. So yea--they'll be crazy in favor of VCU too.
We need to strangle VCU from the opening tip. And we need to continue doing it for 40 minutues. It will be difficult, and it will be exhausting. The most exhausting game of the year, without a doubt. And everyone, from White House staffers to Philly bar hoppers will be rooting against us. But if we play from the opening tip like we have something to prove--then we can reap the hard earned rewards.