We are almost there. Less than 40 hours to go now. I am thinking the sports editors in the LA Times got a sense of the reaction from Bruin fans online (via blogs and message boards) to the stupid Plashcke article from Tuesday. Today there is another article on the Bruins style of play and this time their writer, David Wharton gets it right:
This wasn't some future superstar honing his jump shot. It was a coach-in-the-making -- Ben Howland -- learning an important lesson about how to win.
"I grew up playing one-on-one at the Boys' Club," Howland said. "If you didn't play defense, you lost."
All week long, with UCLA back in the Final Four after 10 years of falling short, much has been made of the Bruins' coarse style under Howland, in his third season as Bruin coach. The way they scramble for each point, grapple for each rebound, hound opponents defensively, has been called ugly if not worse. Howland prefers "lunch pail, bring your hard hat" basketball.
His approach might come as a jolt to Southern California fans raised on the glitzy, fastbreaking Lakers and the legend of previous UCLA teams that, under John Wooden, dominated with crisp offense and superstars in the lineup. Some have questioned whether this brand of basketball can be popular in a city where entertainment is serious business.
The story of UCLA's return to prominence is about a program that grew tired of waiting for a high-scoring savior. It is about a group of players viewed as underachievers and a coach predisposed to choose an alternate route.
In between the forwards and guards, UCLA once had Josh Shipp, a wing player who could make deep jump shots and attack the rim like no one left on the active roster. He played just four games this season, then decided the pain in his surgically repaired hip would not allow him to continue. When he had his biggest game, 14 points at Arizona, the Bruins scored 85. No coincidence there.
Anyways, there is great coverage of the Bruins in the Daily News. Dohn has a cool article on how Kevin Love is following the Bruins run and latest notes from the team. Jill painter profiles Jordan's tatoo (Haters who think Jordan is too self-absorbed should read it). Also BBR has its game preview up:
To begin the semifinal game, the Bruins need to come out against LSU with the same level of intensity they started with against Memphis.
In the Oakland regional final, the Bruins executed their offense and attacked Memphis inside and did not take a three-point shot until eight minutes into the game. Moreover, it allowed UCLA to get their big men involved and active inside, especially Ryan Hollins.
As a result of the Bruin?s aggressive offensive attack inside and good execution on plays, Memphis?s big men got into early foul trouble - a similar result against LSU?s dominant big men would certainly be welcomed by the Bruins.
Alexander Gallardo/LA Times
Bruins are back and we plan here to stay ... for a while. GO BRUINS!