I wanted to pass on some football notes this Sunday before Ryan opens up another March Madness thread. Before I do that wanted to share couple of quick observations from last three days of actions I have picked up here, in other Bruin online communities and also in the twitter world (you can follow BN account here).
First of all, I think it is a little silly for UCLA fans to make fun of Big East's troubles during this tourney season. Saw Maurice Jones Drew and Jarrad Page doing it on twitter yesterday. That is all good but right now if I were a UCLA basketball fan, I'd keep my trap shut about making fun of other hoops teams. Our own program is not good enough to beat Cal State Fullerton and Long Beach State. I doubt if we can even beat UCSB with Howland's Nikola leading the way. So, really Bruins should shut it and think about how Howland is going to rebuild the program he wrecked during this off-season and next two years.
Second, it is a little HIGHlirious to see Bruins make fun of Bill Self. I don't think Self is a perfect coach. I am not sure if he is an elite one. However, what his accomplishments are on par with Jim Harrick, who to date has been the most successful coach in Post Wooden era of UCLA basketball. Yes, Howland took our team to three Final Final-s, which were nothing short of great accomplishments. However, in my book Banner number 11 stands above any of those accomplishments.
Moreover, Harrick not only won that banner he put together a great program which had a strong foundation even after he left. At the end of his seventh season, he had a program, which had just won 2 Pac-10 titles in a row, and cruised control to another one and a bruised Jelani McCoy ribs away from a Final-4. Harrick left the program in such strong shape that it won the conference title without a basketball coach, and essentially allowed a poser to reel in two top classes on the cache of the UCLA brand Harrick rebuilt from the Hazzard mess.
Similarly while Self might have choked another tourney appearance, his Kansas program is in much better shape than the unrecognizable, mid-major mess Howland has created at UCLA. Kansas is going to right back at it put together string of solid seasons and hit the jackpot again, while UCLA is going to scraping for a 20 something wins next season, and then fret about retaining its best players fleeing the Howland cage.
So, yeah Bruin fans if you are going to run smack on other hoops programs in Big Dance (while ours spout clichés about working hard this off-season), look stupid somewhere else. Not here on BN.
While other teams might be underachieving during this tourney, we have much bigger problems than not being good enough to even be considered for the NIT.