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Party like it is 1995

I will get to some of the game day stories in a bit. But before I get to that again I would urge everyone in the BruinsNation to maintain his or her perspective before and after this game no matter what happens. It is obvious traditional media morons like Bill Plaschkes of the world are already out there trying to build up expectation heaping enormous pressure of on our basketball program. Before we start visualizing what is coming down the line we should stop this morning and think for a second - we have 28 wins. Again for me - who was expecting something around 20-22 regular season wins, and perhaps a run to the Steve-16 in Howland's fourth year without Shipp and Mata, this is astonishing. Words cannot justify how proud I am of Coach Howland and our team's efforts up to this point of the season, and to me no matter what happens this afternoon I am more than ecstatic and fired up about the direction of our basketball program under Coach Howland. I haven't had this much fun with UCLA basketball since 1995. Things couldn't be brighter for this program no matter what happens today.

Now that said I want us to freaking win today. We have a tough brutal game this evening against a team that Dohn describes is a hybrid of Memphis and California:

Memphis might be more athletic than Alabama, but not as physical inside. California arguably is as physical as Alabama inside, but doesn't have the guard quickness of the Crimson Tide.

So combine Cal and Memphis - two of UCLA's toughest opponents this season - together, and you'll likely get Alabama, a dangerous No. 10 seed for second-seeded UCLA in today's second round of the NCAA Tournament at Cox Arena. Tip-off is approximately 4:50 p.m.

"They're as athletic as anybody we've seen all year, maybe the most athletic," UCLA coach Ben Howland said. "All their players. There is no non-athlete out there on their team. They're very athletic, long, strong,they attack the rim, attack the glass. They can really get a lot of deflections because of their length, their quickness. They are physical, especially (power forward Richard) Hendricks. He's a load down there."
Of course Gottfried is trying to sandbag his team by sporting the usual coaching clich?s of glorifying the opponent at the expense of his own team saying how Alabama is "not a good basketball team." However Howland is having none of it:
Howland, who accused Belmont's Justin Hare of "sandbagging" when Hare suggested UCLA (28-6) should be disappointed if it didn't win by at least 20 points (the Bruins won by 34), wasn't too impressed by Gottfried's comments.

In fact, Howland did a fair imitation of Gottfried's former boss, UCLA coach Jim Harrick, who always downplayed his teams, when asked about the comments.

"Well, we're not very good," Howland said, in a slow Harrick-esque drawl. "We're going to try and stay in the ballgame as best we can."

Howland then turned more serious.

"That is very, very unfair of him, to characterize his team like that,after the kind of year they've had and some of the quality wins they've had, over outstanding opponents, a la LSU, Florida, Kentucky," Howland said. "Marquette is a very good team they just beat (Thursday). That's almost being a little bit ... I'm sure he's doing it tongue-in-cheek and you (the media) just took it literally, but that's a slap. Marquette is very good."

Indeed, the Crimson Tide (18-12) might present problems for UCLA, particularly inside with center Jermareo Davidson and 6-foot-8, 265-pound Richard Hendrix. The duo are averaging more than 23 points and 18 rebounds per game.
For more on the matchups make sure to check out the BBR preview. BBR has also blurbs and links to all the out of town stories on today's game. Let's hope the kids are focused and ready and have all of their tourney jitters out of their system. For all the good mojo here is the picture (from Cal game at Berkeley - arguably our biggest clutch win of the regular season) I posted two Saturdays ago right before we are going to take on Stanford at Maples:

Photo:  Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP

Yes I am superstitious and also make sure to take one more look at this video clip (from 1995) before today's game. Let's also hope the Cox arena is rocking in a sea of blue and gold sending the Bruins off to a meaningful Sweet-16. We have written before - we haven't had this much fun since 1995. And it is only karma we are getting to take one of the key figures from that magical year. This has to be a good sign - for Bruins. Let's keep the party going like it is 1995. GO BRUINS.