As discussed in recent days Ben Howland's Bruins will get a realistic shot at a little bit of redemption in this week's "Clash of the Titanics" in the Joke-12 tournament. Winning 4 games in 4 days is a tough challenge. But Bruins' got a huge break by getting matched against probably the worst team in the country. As P noted on Sunday we got a bye after all.
Winning the Pac-12 tournament and getting into the Dance will help remove some the bitter taste from what has been a disgraceful and pathetic season for Howland's dumpster fire program this year. It won't remove it completely but it will help just a bit to take the edge of what has been yet another underachieving season in Westwood.
Bruins should be able to cruise through this afternoon's game (2:30 pm PST tipoff). This game should be a perfect warm up for the team to get set for rest of the tournament, as it should provide Howland an opportunity to get his bench ready for the games against Arizona and most likely Washington in next two games. Normally we don't look ahead to our next opponent but today is an exception. Here are the national "datapoints" on JustSC:
Not really worth our time to do go through extensive Trojan "team-notes." The clowns have lost 9 games in a row. We doubt they'd break 50 points against the IM teams at Wooden Center. But let's check in on them a bit and other game day notes after the jump.
- The Trojans' 38 points against Washington State aren't even the fewest they have scored in a game this season. They put just 36 points on the board in a loss to Cal Poly, and they failed to reach 50 points on 12 occasions during the regular season.
- The Pac-12's worst rebounding team, USC was outrebounded 49-20 in its loss to Washington.
If you want to waste few mins reading through more Trogan notes, you can check out their Sportsline.com page here. It shouldn't matter. If Bruins actually have to make an effort to win this game, that will not reflect well on the staff. They should be able to come out, focus and blow these guys out of the water in first half and log in major mins for our bench throughout rest of the game.
The Bruins are playing as well as they have all season while favorites Washington, California and Arizona are all coming off losses as the tournament begins. Not only that, but UCLA has been within three points of winning four of the conference games they lost meaning they feel as if they can play with anyone.
But most of all, the Bruins are playing together and with the type of chemistry that has only grown stronger by sailing through some rough waters together.
"We may have had some ups and downs as far as wins and losses, but to see all the adversity and see that we're still together and not going at each other's throats or anything like that is pretty good," Jones said. "We still love each other and we're still fighting for each other."
All that is nice. But no one will care if this team doesn't get to the Dance. I doubt anyone remembers or care about the last UCLA team that ended up in the NIT.
You can check out the official game notes here. I guess Don MacLean is going to be providing color on tonight's game on FSN. Let's hope the Bruins BLOW out the Trojans in a laugher so that we are LOL at the Trojans, instead of LOL at MacLean's Morgan Center spin about nothing seriously is wrong with our basketball program and that everything is under control. If Bruins actually end up in a competitive game tonight, the joke will be on Ben (and Dan).