Right now there are hundreds of articles floating around the internets about our basketball team. And of course "ugly" is the choice word for the traditional media this week who all have their collective bitter beer faces on because their little darlings from those coddled, pampered, over-hyped "Big-Monday" conferences are not in the Final-4. These jokers have gotten off the whole season calling the Pac-10 over-rated and constantly ridiculing West Coast Hoops. I loved our game on Saturday but it will be the Thursday night's game which has the potential to become (depending on what happens this upcoming weekend) as one of those seminal games in UCLA's history if not the history of college basketball.
Thursday night's game was big and it was big for West Coast basketball. And as this column written by a Bay Area scribe denotes, it should serve as notice for all those jokers Eest of the Mighty Mississippi:
Well, if you fans and so-called experts back East went to bed after the Texas-West Virginia game in the Atlanta Regional, get a tape of the Oakland Regional semifinal nightcap and see for yourself. UCLA trailed by 17 points in the first half and by nine points with 3:27 to play and won. There have been much better teams in the storied history of UCLA basketball, but this one might be the toughest.
"It's really just a testament to the character, the toughness, the heart of our players to never quit," said UCLA coach Ben Howland.
Howland never panicked, never yelled at his players on the sideline during the game. Neither Howland nor Gonzaga coach Mark Few could find fault with the gutsy effort their players put forth.
"Going into it people had questioned our toughness and maybe how physical we could be and I really thought my guys responded and responded well and they executed the game plan," Few said.
So did Howland's. They played hack-a-stache defense on Gonzaga star Adam Morrison and wore him out. Then they picked him up. At the end of the game, a teary-eyed and exhausted Morrison collapsed near midcourt and rolled over on his stomach. UCLA guard Arron Afflalo, who fiercely guarded the Gonzaga All-American for most of the game, was one of three Bruins players to rush over and help him off the floor.
"That's just a sign of, honestly, a great program and great people," Morrison said. "They had the guts, as men, to come over in their moment of victory to pick somebody off the floor. É That's just a sign of great people and great players. That's more than basketball."
That's mutual respect, something that is lacking substantially toward West Coast teams from the other side of the Continental Divide. The Pac-10 was supposed to be a joke this season and Gonzaga, struggling to the finish line against supposedly weak conference foes, was rumored to ripe for a first- or second-round exit this season.
They proved everyone wrong on Thursday night.
A - FREAKING - men.
Again I know Bruin fans were upset with the Ammo's ingame behavior (which didn't bother our players at all). But seriously compare Ammo's gracious comments to those from Memphis players. It is unreal.
Anyways, Zags are going to be fine. They will be back next season. West Coast hoops will be all right and UCLA will be tournament tested by the time it gets to the Big Dance because of playing a grueling schedule featuring one of the elite conferences in American where teams like Washington, Arizona are going to be duking out twice a year. Those teams will not be a threat to Howland's program any more - but as this tournament showed they are going to be just as competitive as any of those so called powers from DSPN hyped conferences. Washington got jobbed against UConn(victs) and Arizona despite being UCLA's pawn the whole season almost pulled off the win against Zona. This all bodes well for West Coast hoops.
And I am not sure if I want to waste my time writing again the non-sense coming out from the wankers of DSPN, CBS, and other morons from LA and the national traditional media who are sucking each other's pop sickles giggling and sneering about UCLA's "ugly basketball." It is hilarious to see a criminal like Doug Gottlieb, and UCLA-haters like Digger Phelps, Steve Lavin (he is a UCLA hater), and Dukees like Seth Davis, Jay Bilas, and Duke Vitale providing "serious commentary" on UCLA hoops and talking about our style of hoops. If these guys were consistent in their commentary they would be lauding UCLA hoops for its defense just like they run to fellate teams like Pistons and Spurs for their defensive intensity.
The truth is Howland has blind sided all these jokers. He has destroyed their cushy little narrative of Duke, UNC, UConn(victs), and other Pac-10 teams dominating the college basketball scene year after year (often playing that same "ugly" defense oriented hoops). Now here comes UCLA - rising from ashes in just three years and now in position to run the table in the world of college basketball for the indefinite future. That is why all on a sudden this kind of ridiculous question is popping up questioning the integrity of this tournament on whether it is right way to decide a true champion.
Let these clowns keep on hating UCLA and West Coast hoops. Keep in mind folks. Even if something bad happens on Saturday we are going to be back next year - even stronger. This is not like the 1995 team which had seniors like Ed O'Bannon and Edney doing their last hurrah through Westwood. As much as we LOVE Ced and Ryan, we know about the nucleus of this team. We are going to come back every year - GUNNING FOR THE BANNER. And, as I mentioned above West Coast hoops over all is going to be in strong shape because programs like Gonzaga, Washington, Arizona et al. And they are all going to get better overall while competing (or trying to at least) against THE DOMINANT POWER in Westwood. We are just getting started.