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Nail in the coffin ...

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I have been looking forward to today for a quiet a while. Today is the day which has the potential to be the official proverbial changing of the guard day in Westwood. Viagra Lute's Mildcats are coming into down in shambles. They are struggling and it is becoming obvious to everyone in the Pac-10 the and in denial about the prospects of being owned by UCLA for the indefinite future. Lute is going to have retire having his trailer trash program to a second tier program in the Pac-10.

Well ... to today's game.  The key matchup again is going to be between Hassan Adams and Arron Afflalo:

Matchup to watch: Arizona is led in scoring by guard Hassan Adams, which means he will be seeing plenty of Bruins guard and defensive stopper Arron Afflalo. When the teams met in Tucson, Ariz., a month ago, Adams was 9 of 20 from the field and scored 21 points.

"Hassan Adams is truly a great player and a warrior," UCLA coach Ben Howland said. "I think he's been the heart and soul, since I've been in the league, of what they're all about. He's such a great competitor and so tough."

Afflalo is one of the Pac-10's best defenders, and a look back at the past nine days demonstrates it. He held Oregon leading scorer Malik Hairston (was averaging 15.2 points per game) to six points, Oregon State leading scorer Chris Stephens (14.5 ppg) to four points and Arizona State leading scorer Kevin Kruger (14.9 ppg) to eight points. The trio shot a combined six for 18 from the field.
Hassan looks a little deflated these days. And the fact that his sorry coach is out there whining and blaming everyone but himself is probably not helping either:
But rather than point his finger in any specific direction, Olson has pointed his finger in all directions, questioning the toughness and intensity of a team coming off a loss to USC on Thursday night that dropped its record to 13-8 overall and 6-4 in the conference.

"There's no sense of urgency," Olson said of his players. "They don't have that refuse-to-lose attitude."
lol Good luck Chase! Anyways, Hassan was totally out of it against USC (9pts. 4 of 11) Thursday night. But he will probably be all fired up to be inside Pauley notwithstanding all the badmouthing from his whiny coach. BBR also previews today?s game talking about how they are going to try go inside against Hollins and co:
With Arizona struggling with their perimeter shooting, we may see them go inside more against the Bruins with both Radenovic and 6'10 center Kirk Walters.

Bruin center Ryan Hollins did not play against Arizona and will be looked upon by this team to continue his stellar play of late. Hollins has improved his defensive rebounding and has played good team defense in the paint.

The Bruins lead the conference in scoring defense allowing only 59.9 points per game, and more importantly lead the conference with a +6.1 scoring margin against opponents.

Although the Wildcats are averaging 75 points per game this season they are only averaging 64 points in their last four games ago.

Against Arizona St. on Thursday evening the Bruins came out flat against the Sun Devils, they can not afford to do the same against the Wildcats and must come out prepared to play with high energy.

With the loss of two key players and turmoil on the team the Wildcats are wounded, but a basketball rivalry as great as the one between UCLA and Arizona can lead to unpredictable happenings and finishes.
Like I wrote last night. Students (and the entire Pauley crowd) need to be in a fever pitch today. UCLA basketball has a lot of paying back to do against Arizona, who enjoyed quiet a run during last few years thanks to the ineptness of the previous coaching regime. The payback is Ced's mind too:
[T]he fifth-year senior wing also wants to ease memories of the Wildcats' 87-52 win on Jan 18, 2003, which stands as the largest margin of defeat for UCLA in Pauley.

"This is a chance to separate ourselves (from Arizona). This is a big game," Bozeman said. "Arizona is coming off a loss, so they're going to be hungry. We've got to be ready for their best shot, because I know they're going to give it to us. I'm trying to put that (2003) game behind us, but it's etched in. We want to get this win. It's definitely important."
More than important. Today just may provide us the seminal moments for these two programs heading towards opposite directions. Arizona back to the gutter - and Bruin back to where we belong - top of West Coast basketball and sometime in the near future - the world of college basketball. We are coming. GO BRUINS.