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Season Reset ...

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I think now it is a good time to reset our season expectations (predictions?). Back in November - when I had no real feel about how good our freshmen were going to turn out to be (except for scattered reports from practices and pickup games, which I never give much weight to), I made this rough prediction about the basketball season. Looks like I wasn't too far off when I predicted that we were going to be 12-3 after the Washington game. Although I did predict that we were going to beat Washington at home, but lose to Zona on the road. Clearly I misunderestimated the talent of our this year's freshmen. And, if we had a healthy roster right now - I'd upgrade the preseason expectation of a 20-10 record going into the tourney to at least 24-6, a PAC-10 title, and probably a no. 2 or no. 3 seed in the Big Dance.

Things are going to be a little different now however. We are going to be shorthanded with either a 6 or 7 men rotation (assuming we keep getting nothing out of Fellins, and no Roubin will never amount to much either) in every game. And considering how Washington State, Stanford, and Oregon State are playing well at this point of the season, and with the ever talented Zona, Washington, Cal, and Oregon around every single game is going to be a vicious dogfight, as the opposing coaches are going to try to get their last shots in against the Bruins, knowing we are going to own them for rest of their careers, once we have everyone healthy.

With that in mind let's take a look at rest of the season and see where we can get the Ws:

1/18/2006, USC (FSNW2), 7:30 PM, win 15-3
1/21/2006, West Virginia (CBS), 12:45 PM, L15-4
1/26/2006, at Oregon (FSN), 7:30 PM, win (but a very difficult game) 16-4
1/28/2006, at Oregon State (FSN), 1:00 PM, loss 16-5
2/2/2006, Arizona State (FSNW2), 7:30 PM , win 17-5
2/4/2006, Arizona (FSN), 1:00 PM, loss 17-6
2/9/2006, at Washington State (FSN), 5:30 PM, loss 17-7
2/11/2006, at Washington (ABC), 12:30 PM, loss 17-8
2/19/2006, at USC (FSN), 5:00 PM, win 18-8
2/23/2006, Oregon State (FSNW2), 7:30 PM, win 19-8
2/26/2006, Oregon (CBS), 1:00 PM, win 20-8
3/2/2006, at Cal (FSN), 7:30 PM. loss 20-9
3/4/2006, at Stanford, TBA, loss 20-10
3/8/2006, Pac-10 Tournament - Los Angeles, Calif., TBA, we will win 1 game in the Pac-10 tourney and lose in the semis and be 21-11 going into the tourney.

Note that I am picking us to win at Oregon, which I think is somewhat generous, and I am also picking us to beat SC at SC, which no longer is being coached by a former assistant of Steve Lavin. So it is quiet conceivable - we are heading into the Pac-10 tourney with 18 wins and in need for a desperate win for getting into the Big Dance.

Let me make it clear - I am not giving up on this season. Those predictions above are my realistic outlook for rest of the year given the injuries to our roster. I have already made it clear about how proud I am of these kids for the guts they have shown up to this point of the season putting the team at this position to begin with. They have exceeded my expectations. And, I am guarding myself so that I am not bummed out if this season doesn't turn into that 24-6/no. 2 seed we could all envision before getting the news on Ced, Josh, and Lorenzo. Yes, this truly sucks as an alum who lives and dies with Bruin sports (thank God for a wife who is also an alum and bleeds blue and gold). But we have to keep in mind - it hurts more for our players, coaches, and parents (of Jordan, Josh, Ced, Lorenzo, Aaron et al.), who have sacrificed so much for Bruin hoops. Just look at the expressions on Jordan, Aaron, Ced, Josh, Lorenzo, and then their coaches. This is killing them inside - knowing full well how they are the class of Pac-10, yet they are playing short handed. They are handling the adversity with grace, not making any excuses, and coming out clawing, scratching, and fighting in games -running on fumes. As that 19 year old said in the post below - I have never been so proud of our basketball program since that magical year of 1995. And yes, I was on campus for that. Those days are coming soon. Just keep the faith. GO BRUINS.