Cal fans may not have Shabazz Muhammad's fashion sense or the classiness of most UCLA fans, but they did enjoy the victory before getting high and listening to Phish, hugging trees and talking about how they got high and listened to Phish. - Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Similar to our previous roundtable discussions, we take a look at UCLA basketball's recent trip to the Bay Area to play Cal and Stanford.
1. Initial impressions of the Cal/Stanford games?
bruinclassof10: Cal has a better coach than we do. Stanford showing was better. Counting down the days til the new coaching search and Dan's contract expiring.
freesia39: Well, talk about two different games. The first half of the Cal game we weren't even playing basketball, and then only got into it when Cal let up and Monty didn't have to shove his players around. At Stanford they seemed a bit more into it from the tip, although there were, as always, a few lapses when they got up big.
Nestor: FWIW I do appreciate how our guys rebounded at Maples after the Valentine's Day massacre in Berkeley. Yes, the Cal game ended up being a little "close" in garbage time but the outcome there was never in doubt. I am happy that the freshmen didn't pack it in and went through the motions in Palo Alto. The game was still unwatchable and we took on a very poorly coached Stanford team. But I give credit to the players for still fighting in what has been a forgettable season.
Tydides: The joy is gone. I understood being detached from the Cal game, but besides hoping the freshmen do well and salvage something of their experience here, the Stanford game was notable for me personally in how little the team's success really mattered. Maybe some of it will come back come tournament time, but we'll see. Until then, it's just going through the motions.
Patroclus: Hard for me to take anything from that Cal game. But wow, is Stanford bad.
tasser10: what is with our players when they get to Cal? I swear, there's something in the water or the air up there. It doesn't matter if it's football or basketball, the teams just don't show up. Cross the bay and suddenly things are fine. There's nothing to be learned from the Stanford game, except that they are terrible, and we barely beat them.
Achilles: I'm going to be honest: I didn't watch one second of the Bay Area trip, not one play. And that's very rare for me over the years. It's a combination of things. One, I don't have Pac12 Network and while not every game is on that network, not having it has taken me out of the "habit" of watching UCLA basketball. It's like the season is taking place and I'm only vaguely aware of it. Larry Scott and his crew are very smug about the network but not affiliating with Direct TV is a colossal blunder. DirectTV = sports. In addition, life is just getting in the way and I'm letting it. My kid has games (he's a high school athlete) and I prioritize his games. Nothing crazy about that. What is new is that I don't even bother to record the games that I can watch and watch them later. Or I'll watch the Lakers-Clippers game instead of the UCLA game. I just don't care that much. I'll tell you all something: Howland's brand of basketball has always been ugly. It was acceptably ugly when we were winning a lot, now it's just a dumpster fire. My sympathies are with the kids. Finally, I want to acknowledge the BN bloggers who continue to slog through every game and keep the community going. It can't be fun for them, but they are powering through. I tip my hat to them. It's really sad for me. I used to plan my life around UCLA hoops -- even more than football. Now, I find any excuse not to care. I can't wait for the season to end, to wipe the slate clean and see if the new coach can breathe life back into the program and into my enthusiasm.
Odysseus: I didn't watch any of the Bay Area trip either. UCLA basketball used to be appointment viewing for me, especially when Howland seemed to be building something with the Ben Ball Warriors. But over the past several years, the teams have been painful to watch and just not any good. It's obvious to me that nobody is having any fun, and I certainly don't have any fun watching it. I'm too busy with the rest of my life to waste my time on it. The fact that a number of passionate UCLA alumni and fans feel this way about UCLA basketball should tell you everything you need to know about how far the program has fallen under Howland and Chianti Dan. they both need to go. I'll also echo Achilles' thoughts about the community members and front pagers and my appreciation for their contributions.
gbruin: I saw the Cal on tape and man, I'm sorry I did. It's games like those that are so unexplainable and intolerable. Even though Stanford is pretty bad and the score was close late, at least we had players (the freshmen) step up on the road when it counted. Nothing like that happened at Cal. That trip was a microcosm of all that is wrong with Howland's teams the last few years. This roster should not have such variability in their attitude and performance.
2. The Good?
bruinclassof10: The U-C-L-A chant at Maples in the 2nd half. Shabazz's 4-pt play and KA played a good all-around game vs. Stanford.
freesia39: Being a part of the U-C-L-A chant at Pauley North. It was good to see Jordan Adams back to the Jordan Adams I loved at the beginning of the season. Remember, the Jordan Adams fan club line starts behind me.
Nestor: Kyle Anderson is just so much fun to watch. I really hope he will come back for at least one more season to hopefully play for a new coach. It'd be cool to see the current group of freshmen (well Shabazz is gone so not going to count on him) under a new coach with a sense of excitement in a reinvigorated basketball program.
Tydides: The freshmen taking over the Stanford game. Makes you wonder if Parker could have joined them with the minutes that David Wear continues to un-earn with every passing game.
Patroclus: The freshmen stepping up at Stanford, the Wears playing within themselves on O and Larry Drew's improved shooting. How well Bruin alums and fans represented at Maples - and even at Haas, I am told.
tasser10: if we get to keep a couple of our players and hire a coach who knows how to use them, well UCLA Basketball may just become watchable again.
gbruin: I'll agree with the U-C-L-A chant at Stanford. That sounded awesome. Sad that Shabazz had to point out that the Bruin fans there were louder than Pauley. Does anyone new wish we'd rebuilt a new modern arena with better sight lines and acoustics instead of encasing Pauley in glass? Big ups to Kyle for playing his best game in a long while at Stanford, too.
3. The Bad?
bruinclassof10: The entire Cal game. Flaming bag of poo
freesia39: Anything associated with the Cal game.
Nestor: How about the entire Pac-12 conference. What a ****show.
Tydides: Howland is still coach and Parker seems like he's as good as gone barring a miracle re-recruiting job by his replacement.
Patroclus: The Cal game. Stanford. Our defense (which I did not quite appreciate until watching a game in person last weekend).
tasser10: spending time watching even 10 seconds of that Cal game. Does any team in this conference even care? It seems like no one really gives a damn.
gbruin: The fact that the Cal game can happen like that. Really, it's no shame to go on the road and lose if you play hard and the other team is better or just gets the bounces. But it's an embarrassment to turn in a performance like that. It's unacceptable that it wasn't a one time circumstance with this coach.
4. This Week's MVP
bruinclassof10: Without a doubt, Kyle "Slo-Mo" Anderson
freesia39: I'll agree with Kyle Anderson.
Nestor: Agree with all of you.
Tydides: Really wanted to break the pattern here, but Kyle was a standout.
Patroclus: Have to agree with the crowd.
tasser10: Kyle Anderson. This week's LVP? Ben Howland.
gbruin: Kyle Anderson. Easy.
5. The Free Throw
bruinclassof10: Fire Ben Howland/Dan Guerrero
freesia39: I loved being in a section of nothing but Bruins fans, wall to wall. People took it upon themselves to lead 8-claps, and we did them fast (sorry Class of 66 and Fox 71) right after a foul call and before the Bruin would shoot free throws. Shout out to the two Bruins in the Stanford student section. Oh and when you watch live from decent seats, some things are painfully obvious about how bad we are in some areas. I felt weird chanting "DE-FENSE."
Nestor: It was awesome to hear the UCLA chant coming out of Maples. But at this point I am counting the days till this season is mercifully over.
Tydides: Funny how we have a better home atmosphere at Maples than we do at Old Pauley Under Glass. That's odd. I wonder whose fault that is...
Patroclus: So freesia, does that mean that I was not the only person in Maples struggling not to scream "Ugh, Avi!" several times over the course of Saturday afternoon? However frustrating the season has turned out or how badly the program is being managed, it is always great to watch the Bruins in person when the team makes the NorCal trip. This was my 4th straight year going to Maples for UCLA/Stanford basketball (despite living < 15 minutes from Cal), and am always encouraged by the strong presence and enthusiasm of the fellow Bruins who show up.
tasser10: Watching UCLA basketball is like having to go to that one class you hated but had to attend. Once in a while, the lecture was good, but for the most part the class is painfully boring and completing it has no redeeming value. Great topic, bad professor...
gbruin: While I root my heart out for the Bruins every game, there is something that makes me so melancholy when I watch this team, especially when games like Cal happen. The talent on this roster at the start of the year was comparable to almost anyone in the country - if used properly. Instead, we've had 2 key players leave, a promising freshman disappear, solid role players play lead roles that hurt the team, an apathetic fan base that make away games better environments than home games, and long time loyal Bruins like my friends Achilles and Odysseus above and others who have lost their passion for U.C.L.A. Basketball. The road trip reaffirmed all that we have said about Howland and Guerrero, and it is going to take major changes at the top to get the program and the fans back to where we should be.
Feel free to chime in with your thoughts. We'll be back next week for a post-Southern Cal roundtable. Is it March 31st or football season yet?