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Cold-blooded

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Man where to start.  There are so many good reads in the papers and other national sites today about the Bruins. What we saw yesterday at Corvallis is just the latest proof of Howland building something special in Westwood - implications of which we are going to feel - IMHO for years to come. We are just getting started with the rebirth of yet another Golden Era of Bruin Basketball.  We are at the very beginning of it. We can see it. We can taste it, but we are not quiet there yet. Keep in mind we have shot to the top of the Pac-10 with an injured Josh Shipp (who was and pivotal cog in last year's freshman class, and was poised to have a huge sophomore season), and Mata who was just starting to make his presence felt in the center. Yet here we are - as Dohn writes - despite the injuries and adversities things coming together for our beloved Bruins:

"When we put it all together, this team has the potential to be very good," UCLA guard Arron Afflalo said. "We've got personnel that can really get it done. We can also be beaten, but we have the personnel that when we play hard, play together and we have each other's back, we can beat anybody."

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute led a balanced UCLA offense with 14 points. Although Afflalo continued his shooting slump by going 4 of 14 from the floor, he manufactured 11 points and added a career-high 10 rebounds.

And Farmar, who had nine turnovers in his Pac-10 debut last season at Gill, repeatedly broke down Oregon State's defense with dribble-penetration, which led to easy baskets. Howland called Farmar's play "magical," and the sophomore said making a pair of 3-pointers early aided his ability to drive to the basket late.
We already talked about Pac-10's leading candidates for FOY, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (well if he isn't leading the candidates of the FOY of Pac-10, then the journalists or coaches whoever vote for this award ought to have their head examined) last night. But we also need to mention Jordan had his best game of the season yesterday. The Bruin Floor General was in TOTAL CONTROL. Not only he was dominating the flow of the game, he also played decent defense and also breaking the Beavers defense over and over by penetrating inside.

It is awesome to watch a team in control. Even when I was watching Arron struggling with his shots yesterday afternoon, I knew everything was going to be all right. The kid was not pouting, not holding his head down, instead he was locking up Chris Stephens on defense, hauling in boards, and manufacturing points. He basically was doing what his Coach had been preaching to him last two weeks.  Drive, draw fouls, get points, and play TEAM DEFENSE. It got the Beaver Head Coach's attention:
"You've got to hand it to [UCLA], on doing what they've done to people," Oregon State Coach Jay John said. "They wear you down with their defense. They're just there. They compete. They challenge."

John was especially impressed with Afflalo, shooting slump or not.

"Chris Stephens was defended by an NBA guy in Arron Afflalo," John said. "He did a great job in that he didn't let Chris have looks. They just did a good job of taking a lot of our weapons away."
I mean it is an incredible feeling to see a kid like Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (again doing a full spell out so that those morons in Bristol can see it over, and over, and over again) going up and down the court, covering opposing defenders like amoebas, and then getting up high to come up with vicious blocks/swats like this one:


Photo:Rick Bomer/AP

Another thing is becoming a clear. We are getting in other team's heads.  There is a reason why we are playing bunch of cold-blooded assassins on the road. These kids under Howland's coaching playing ferocious defense are creating a mental edge for themselves.  Here is Oregon's coach again:
John said Oregon State's second-half struggles on offense -- brought on by UCLA's defense -- led to frustration on the other end of the floor as well.

"We had a point when we cracked," John said. "When people start throwing dunks down, they've created a competitive edge."
And here is his leading scorer:
"UCLA plays with a winning mentality," Cuic said. "They know how to win games. I don't believe they even practiced when they came here (Friday). They have that attitude now, a little bit of arrogance that allows them to come off (with) a win like this one."
Now you know why I bring up the comparisons between Howland's program and Dorrell's program so many times here. Howland has ways to go to bring home the banner (even the Pac-10 banner is going to be a challenge this season, see Seitz's diary here). But already we can see all the signs of Howland and his boys having "it," that indescribable "it" in sports - when you know your team is going to be all right - because they want it more. Our warriors, these cold-blooded assassins are just winners. And the word is getting around in the conference. THANK GOD FOR BEN HOWLAND. GO BRUINS.