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Waking up to a new day ...

Last night was an exclamation point. It is now crystal clear - Howland is going to own Viagra Lute for the rest of his career. From Greg Hansen of Arizona's Daily Star:

The competitive gap between UCLA and Arizona has widened significantly this season, and if you aren't worried, you should be.

The Bruins project to be a Sweet 16 team this month, and better than that in 2007 when Howland's young squad returns with the seasoning it needs to challenge for a national championship.

Not that Olson is in neutral. After Arizona defeated Stanford in Thursday's tournament opener, he made the congested commute to Orange County to watch a pair of high school prospects.

Rather than be content by extending his nation-leading streak of NCAA tournament appearances, and wait until next year, Olson is already working on cutting into UCLA's lead.

He needs to be.

But as it sits in March 2006, UCLA is far too deep for Arizona, much too physical, and frankly, better at every position. What Wildcat would start for the Bruins? Maybe Ivan Radenovic, but it would be close.

And, oh, what Olson would give to have UCLA freshman point guard Darren Collison, quick and aggressive, available to run the Arizona offense. Collison scored 15 points in 23 minutes on Friday, and always seemed to be a half-step too quick for the Wildcats.
For more on DC and Bruin freshmen make sure to read Dohn's piece on our boys all growing up. Like A noted last night - Arizona fans are realizing - UCLA basketball will own their program for rest of their adult lives. It's gotta be tough for them. After cruising through the Pac-10 all these years at the expense of buffoonery of Lavin, reality is finally catching up with them. No matter what kind of coaches are leading elsewhere in the Pac-10, if the Bruins are clicking on all cylinders under the guidance of a great coach, no one is going to stop them from peaking at the right time:
UCLA coach Ben Howland stood in the hallway of the locker room, speaking about how his Bruins were playing ridiculously tight defense, playing incredibly unselfish offensively, and peaking at the perfect time.

And that was the night before UCLA thoroughly embarrassed Arizona.

Using a now commonplace huge run to start the second half, top-seeded UCLA screened, boxed out, fastbreaked, outshot and, ultimately, outclassedNo. 4 seed Arizona 71-59 in the semifinals of the Pacific-10 Conference Tournament on Friday at Staples Center.

In reaching today's title game against California, the 13th-ranked Bruins (26-6) did nothing to diminish their seed in next week's NCAA Tournament.

"We're getting better. We're improving," Howland said. "This is trulya team. You look at how unselfish they are out there. It's just exciting to see the unselfishness, to me, as someone who appreciates good basketball."
Of course California is going to be tough game with a monster like Leon Powe inside. They are going to be all jacked up for tonight. But so are we. And we know our boys are going to be all fired up, and come out like bunch of assassins dancing to the tunes orchestrated by Coach Howland. March Madness for all Bruin fans - sadness for everyone else in the Pac-10. It's a brand new day for the Pac-10. We have been saying that for a while under Howland - haven't we? GO BRUINS.