Bookend: Howland Wins His First and Last Games At Hec Ed

USA TODAY Sports

Streaks? We don't care about no stinking streaks.

The most amusing part of a poorly played and poorly officiated game was the flashback to the 2004 game against Washington; the last time Ben Howland won in Seattle. The picture was blurry and grainy, and the blobs of blue and gold racing around what we can only assume was a basketball court only served to highlight that it had been so long since the Bruins had tasted victory at UW that HD for sports games wasn't even common yet.

So now, just 3 days after being on the wrong end of 2 decades of history against Washington State, Howland ended an 8 year run of futility of his own, which seems to poetically cap the end of the regular season, and what should be his final regular season in Westwood.

Anyone that knows either of these teams should by now be able to guess the particulars from the end result.

- Lo(l)renzo Romar's undisciplined jungle ball squad once again showed how little it cares about possession and characteristically coughed the ball up 19 times.

- Shabazz Muhammad and Jordan Adams shouldered the scoring load with 21 and 17 points respectively

- Kyle Anderson was the only guy on the team over 6'6" that seemed to have even a passing interest in rebounding (he got 8)

- Tony Parker got next to no minutes

- UCLA got outrebounded again

In the big picture, the regular season has mercifully come to an end, and with it, the hilarious hot potato that the so-called leaders of this conference have been playing with the conference lead over the past few weeks has wrapped up. Thanks to Oregon choking on both games of the easiest road trip in this pathetic conference, UCLA emerges as PAthetiC-12 champs. It is instructive to look no further than 2 football season ago to see how this should turn out. In similar circumstances, Rick Neuheisel's team backed into a Pac-12 South "title" due to an utter lack of competition. Following the 50-0 destruction at the hands of the Trogans (like the ridiculous losses against the Trogans, WSU, ASU, and Cal Poly in basketball this year), Chianti, being the spineless bureaucrat that he is, would have used that "title" as justification to keep Neuheisel around another year were it not for the fact that his team and his tenure had clearly not met expectations and the fans and donors let him know it.

It's a legitimate concern that Chianti will try to do the same now, barring a miracle Final Four run that would legitimately earn Howland another year. All we know is that to date, this team has not met expectations, and anyone with a sense of pride in Coach's program realizes this. It's not about what will happen. It's about what should happen. It's why winning the second worst Pac-12 in recent memory doesn't mean much. It's why the only thing that matters after 4 years of futility, a losing season, 2 missed tournaments, and countless embarrassments both on and off the court, is getting the results: a Final Four. Now that we're in the postseason, there's no room for the noise. It's clear as can be. Final Four or bust.

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