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Yet another Sunday post with that title. All of us (unlike some bandwagoning LA assclowns (cough - Plaschke) who have been following this team through the whole year know we have been through this kind of close, gritty, brutal games the whole season. Yes, for a while I was nervous last night. I was a nervous wreck especially during those missed six free throws, and that bullshit foul call on DC, but just kept telling myself and my friends - we are lead by a warrior. I have written this before and I will be probably writing this few more times before he is done in Westwood - Arron is the most fearless leader a major UCLA sports team has had since the days of Cade and Ed O'Bannon. He is something special and he showed it front of a national television audience last night why he is one of the most money players in this game:

[W]hen UCLA's season was on the line, with a disappointing early exit in the NCAA Tournament staring him in his face, Afflalo pushed aside 39 minutes of frustration to make the two biggest plays of the night.

Afflalo converted a 3-pointer with the shot clock winding down in the final minute to give UCLA a four-point, then played stifling defense on Alabama guard Ronald Steele in the closing seconds with the Bruins protecting a two-point lead.

Steele's forced 3-pointer was woefully short, and when Cedric Bozeman emerged from a scramble to secure the basketball, a trip to the Sweet 16 also was secured as the second-seeded Bruins defeated No. 10 seed Alabama 62-59 Saturday in the second round of the NCAAs at Cox Arena.

``I will take my chances with Arron Afflalo guarding the ball against anybody in the country at the top of the key with the game on the line,''UCLA coach Ben Howland said.
Thanks to AA we are off to Oakland. We will be writing about the Zags soon, but we have to take a few moments and appreciate what happened last night. There is a reason why I wrote this yesterday morning I haven't had this much fun watching UCLA basketball in more than decade. This is a team everyone should fall in love with. Just take a look at a reaction from a kid like Shipp who haven't been playing the whole season:

AP Photo

He is living and breathing blue and gold. He and his teammates can feel something really special is going on in Westwood led by warriors like Arron, Jordan, Ced, Ryan, Luc and the whole team. Ced, Ryan, and Jordan were superb last night. Perhaps some of you have already mentioned this. Ced had 7 assists and 0 turnovers. That is what I call clutch performance when everything is on the line. And what can you say about Ryan. I admit I have been one of those guys so hard on Ryan over the years and even early this year. But oh my (apologies to Enberg) this kid has finally got it. He has figured it out how to use that 7 ft. frame and make this presence feel inside. He has become a force in last few games and we can only hope this fire will keep burning through rest of the tournament. And Jordan - man this kid gets maligned a lot. Everyone seems to take him for granted and expect greatness all the time and get on him when something bad happens. The kid is giving it all just like Arron. Jordan kept us in the game in the first half. His 18 points were huge. Of course he should have at least 20 because he got victimized by a bullshit charging call in the second half with 6:49 left and UCLA up 53-49 when he drove through the lane and banged up against two huge Tide players. Refs. like they had been throughout the night missed that call. Anyways ... it is all over and done with. If you want to read more wrap-up on last night's game here are AP recap, the LA Times, Sportsline?s Dennis Dodd and OC Register.

It is time to enjoy Sunday's second round games knowing we are going back to Sweet-16. Obviously we don't hang banners in Pauley for Steve-16s. We expect lot more than that here at UCLA. But this season with 29 wins (YES, 29 WINS!) can be declared a success no matter what happens rest of the tourney. Of course we want to roll the Zags next week. But we have to make clear in the BruinsNation we are ecstatic about our basketball program - we are ecstatic with what Howland has done, and we are more than giddy to have kids - warriors like Arron, Jordan, Luc, Ced, Ryan and everyone else leading the greatest program in the history of college basketball. We are so back. GO BRUINS.