Welcome to the humpday Bruin Bites, beat the Trogans edition. Normally, this would be a nice relaxing day, knowing that we're playing Southern Cal later on at home. In the grand scheme of things, given the history of the programs, this is usually a nice easy win for UCLA. But not so under Ben Howland. You see, Ben is only 13-8 against the Trogans, which is almost one loss per year. Not only is this worse than his own overall winning percentage, I am pretty certain that this is the worst winning percentage against Southern Cal of any UCLA coach ever. Under Howland, the Trogans thought they had "closed the gap", which will of course never happen (though you can't underestimate Chianti) but with Howland in charge their hopes are getting wings!
Well, at least we have one thing going for us: it's a weekday game! I hope the players get to experience a nice win at home, and that Pauley will be rocking for the Blue Out. On to some news and notes for today:
- Well guess what, the stomach flu is pretty darn contagious. After Kyle and Jordan got it, it was Shabazz's turn. It was no bad lettuce, dude. Shabazz was pretty sick but his teammates think he will actually play. I hope he is well hydrated so he can avoid the cramps that Jordan got. From the same article, Howland also thinks Travis Wear will play and hopefully he is symptom free after his concussion. A short bench would doom the Bruins.
- ESPN discusses Howland's "change of style" with a gem of a quote:
He is doing it not necessarily because he wants to but because he realized, finally, that he had to. The No. 1 recruiting class he plucked from around the nation came equipped with the defensive skill of a summer-ball team.
That is to say none.
- As we have discussed previously, with some dissent amongst the community (what? Disagreement on BN? How is that possible?!), Reggie Miller will have his No. 31 jersey retired tonight at halftime.
- From the "Bruins doing greater good" department, which has been quite busy the last few years, a federal court judge dismissed the NCAA's motion to prevent athletes from legally pursuing a cut of revenues. As you all remember the suit was led by Westwood hero Ed O'Bannon. Although there is still a long way to get to a reasonable compromise for athletes, this was a huge first step.
- The Grey Lady discusses U.C.L.A. getting a record number of applications this year. As you may have heard, the school got over 90,000 applications...which it turns out is more than the population of Santa Monica! No wonder they call it the Big Blue Bus.
- The Men's Volleyball team loses yet another five-setter, to UC Irvine last night at Pauley. It was as tight a match as the Bruins have played but they just couldn't pull it off, getting as close as 10-9 in the final set. We've mentioned several times how young this team is and Coach Speraw is doing an awesome job with them. They certainly have grown a lot this season and could potentially be a real threat in the tournament (assuming they make it). Regardless, they are on a great path.
- The Men's Water Polo team saw five of its players earning first-team All-America acclaim. I'm sure they would trade that for that championship after being a runner-up for the second year in a row. Well done boys.
I hope this tides you over until the game tonight. If you're going, wear blue! Go Bruins!