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Sweet Home California ...

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We can now look beyond Belmont and focus on our next opponent - Alabama. Couple of personal notes here. I like University of Alabama for two reasons. First, I like Coach Gottfried. He is a great guy.  I have good memories of him spending few years in Westwood as Coach Harrick's First Assistant. He was one of the hardest working D-1 assistants around unlike the coffee/towel boy asshole Steve Lavin. In fact had Coach Gottfried stuck around Westwood and not taken the Murray St. job, he probably would have been the next head coach at UCLA and thinks may have been ok. But it has all worked out for everyone. Coach Gottfried is doing the best he can in building a solid program in a football school, and we are happy to finally find in Coach Howland, who we believe is the true successor of Coach Wooden. Secondly, speaking of Alabama - it is my favorite program in the SEC. I have nothing but fond memories of Tuscaloosa when I went down there few years ago for that UCLA-Bama game. They have some of the classiest and most fun college sports fans in America. And, doesn't hurt the fact that Dreamland Barbecue is pretty damn good.  So yes - even though I though we'd be playing Marquette on Saturday, I am more than excited about this game, and judging from how the Crimson Tide looked yesterday, I am expecting the Bruins to face a brutal/physical and a difficult game on Saturday.

And reading some of the post-game comments from last night's game it is good to see players are not making a big deal out of a win over an over-matched opponents and are squarely focusing on Bama:

"We're definitely focused on Saturday. There was no dumping water or things of that nature," Afflalo said about the postgame locker room scene. "We're on a six-game mission, one game at a time."
Dohn has more AA's thoughts on Saturday:
"We are kind of disappointed about the way we came out," UCLA guard Arron Afflalo said. "A lot of that is jitters, though. Alabama, they're an elite ballclub, better athletes and much better personnel. We need to play 40 minutes if we all wish to move on to the Sweet 16."
also from Ced on the importance of starting out of sync this Saturday:
"Hopefully, we don't come out like this on Saturday," Bruins senior guard Cedric Bozeman said. "Alabama's a tough team. I think if you get down early like that on them, it gives them more momentum, and we don't want to give them that much momentum."
and from Ryan echoing same sentiment:
"You can't play that level of play," UCLA center Ryan Hollins said. "For a national championship, you can't come out like that. We'll get run out of the stadium. It's probably a 'C' effort."
It's good to see players being so concerned about their performance and thinking about how to improve going into Saturday. For more on last night's game which included another spectacular performance from the Prince read the LA Times wrap up here. And yes Bill Plaschke has another stupid column today including this idiotic take on current expectations re. our basketball program:
While teams in the rest of the tournament wax about the clichés of Cinderella and slippers, UCLA deals in the realities of dungeons and dragons, and so it is happening again.

Eleven national championships means forever having to say you're sorry, because it's never enough, not this time of year, especially not with a team that has won more games than any Bruin team since that last national title.

They had just finished what would be the most convincing victory in the tournament's first day. They held their opponent to exactly fewer points in an entire game as some tourney teams scored in one half.

Yet caught between dungeons of their past failures and the dragons of future expectations, the UCLA kids reacted in shrugs, sighs and shaking heads.
(warning - rant starts here)Dungeons and dragons? WTF? There is a reason why I think this assclown is a classic example of pile of shit emanating from the traditional medial. Plaschke the idiot is trying to advance a tired narrative that somehow Bruin fans are going to be unhappy if something goes wrong on Saturday, completely overlooking the fact how much we all have been enjoying the resurgence of Bruin basketball. We have won 28 freaking games and Plaschke is trying to spin some nonsense that somehow if something goes wrong we are going to get down on our coaches and players? This is the kind of crap you get from gasbags like  Plaschke masquerading as "sports columnists," when their pile of trash is more suited for E's True Hollywood Story, who knows shit about sports and start waxing all poetic late in the game.(end of rant)

Anyways on to Bama. Here is Sportsline page on Alabama. Seems like they have 2 primary scorers - Jermareo Davidson (6-10/220 center) and Ronald Steele (6-3/185 Guard). The kid that caught fire yesterday was Jean Felix (6-7/205), a senior wing player who averaged 8.1 points per game coming into the NCAA Tournament; he torched Marquette for 31 points, a career high, going 8-of-11 from behind the arc. So Ced and AA are going to have their hands full.  I can't wait till tomorrow. Again what a feeling to be this excited about March. If anyone of you have more thoughts on Bama, last night or whatever ... post them here. Let's hope at the end of tomorrow night it's the boys in blue and gold singing a song about the Southland. GO BRUINS.