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Restoration of Hardware ...

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Last night around 10:28 pm EST when Jordan, Arron and rest of their team-mates were busy slaughtering those vaunted NCAA basketball champions from the basketball powerhouse - LSU, my cell phone went off and this text message showed up from a buddy of mine I used to watch games with in college (who was a member of the yell crew)::

And 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 ... U ... C... L ...A UCLA Fight Fight Fight! This game brings back so many great memories!
and then I also got this:
Dude - i love that this is just the beginning!!
Almost there. We are quite not quiet there yet. I know here at BN we have lot of reasons to be angry, steamed, frustrated, and pissed off for the garbage we have been reading and hearing coming out of so called national experts mouth on different networks and websites. But I will try to bottle all that up and keep it cool for at least another day. It's AA who summed up the perfect sentiment for this Nation. Here is AA in today's Dohn's article on Bruins:
"We're here, and we feel like we're supposed to be here," Bruins guard Arron Afflalo said. "We're here to make our own history and add on to (the past). This program won't be fully restored until we're national champions."
I am not going to spend much time in this post talking about LSU, you know - those national champions - of last week. If you want to read more on last night's game here is the recap from the LA Times and the OC Register. Also check out great online videos from KCBS on Bruin Hoops.

Well it's time to look forward to tomorrow night. I called my friend back who mentioned how this feels so much like 1995 for so many obvious reasons. I reminded him though right after we took care of the Big Country in Seattle, we turned out attention to a super athletic SEC team who were going to run us out of the Kingdome through their "40 minutes of Hell." Well here we are again ... in the Finals - playing against another superbly athletic SEC team, who according to most of the national experts will be run us out of Indiana. We will see I guess. In Howland we trust.

A great thing about last night's win is that many of our starters got a lot of rest and we should have plenty left in our tank for tomorrow night. Speaking of tomorrow night, here is a quick look at the Florida Gators:
Go-to guys: Sophomore Joakim Noah has developed into one of the most effective big men in the conference. His long arms made him an especially effective defender, and he is an accurate shooter. Classmate Corey Brewer is one of the more athletic forwards around but was hampered by an ankle injury in late-January and early-February. Guard Taurean Green, another sophomore, doesn't shoot for a high percentage but is a good assist man.

Strengths: Florida finished the regular season only 7-6 after winning its first 17 games, but the Gators were competitive in all their games with their worst loss by six points at South Carolina, and they closed with an impressive win at Kentucky. They are the second-highest scoring team out of the SEC and their average 15-point winning margin was by far the largest in the conference. They are young, starting four sophomores and a junior, and they bring a couple of freshmen off their bench. But they also are deep enough to play eight or nine players a game.

Weaknesses: The Gators were outrebounded in five of their six losses, and turnovers were a problem in all but their loss at Alabama, where they had only nine (to Alabama's nine) but were outrebounded 42-33. Green has had his moments -- he led the Gators in scoring 10 times during the regular season -- but he shoots under 40 percent overall and under 30 percent from 3-point range. It's not a bad strategy to try to keep junior Lee Humphrey under control on the perimeter and play Green for the pass.
If you are looking for more info. on the Gators make sure to check out our SBN colleague over at Swamp Ball, and even though pigskin is their specialty - the boys over at EDSBS may have something to say about tomorrow night as well.

More (including a pic. you don't want to miss) after the fold. GO BRUINS.

At this point the formula for us is going to be pretty simple. If we are going to have a chance against the Big-Bad Mighty Gators it is once again will began and end with our trademark inside-the-jersey Howland defense. We written about it enough and linked to stories about it enough - but in case if you have been living under a rock during last few months and still trying to figure out what this Bruin defense thing is all about here is one more chance.  Again it is obvious we are not going to get any respect until we accomplish what Arron alluded to above. Florida was fully expecting to play LSU and LSU was still not sure what hit them last night.:

Not that it was the Gators' fault because it was where most of the questions were directed, but their locker room was dominated by talk of the potential all-SEC final, of the matchups with Davis and Tyrus Thomas, of how all this will show how they aren't just football schools.

"If we play LSU, it will be a great, great game," Horford said. And if you play UCLA? "Uh, don't know about that," he said.

"Bring on Big Baby," Florida guard Taurean Green said. "Bring on Tyrus." One suspects Green couldn't name a UCLA player he wanted to bring on.

Even after taking a thorough beating from the Bruins, many of the Tigers seemed baffled by what had happened.

Thomas, the 6-foot-9 freshman who dominated Duke with his shot blocking and rebounding, sat at his locker after playing only 17 minutes and scoring five points, mumbling that there was nothing UCLA had done to contribute to his team's demise.

"Just us, man," he said. "Just us. Didn't execute, man." When asked about Mbah a Moute, Thomas shook his head because he didn't recognize the name. "Oh, yeah, No. 23," he said finally. "I guess he was good."
That is quite allright. Let them say what they want to say. And those quotes from LSU players are eerily similar to the ones we hear from Memphis. So that works for me.

Just remember - we have nothing to lose tomorrow night. Absolutely nothing. This is not a one-shot deal. Remember we are coming back and doing this all over again next year, and the year after. Howland is going to be here for a decade or two and we are probably going to be making this kind of run - having complete regular seasons and then give everything we have in the Big Dance every year. So whatever happens tomorrow night will work for us.

That said, I want that restoration of our hardware. And look who is at Indy to provide some of that karma from 1995:

Photo sent to me via email

Yeap that's right. That's no. 31 - Ed'O firing up the crowd with an 8 clap. Like my buddy said above. Feels like 1995. Almost there with our restoration of hardware. Less than 31 hours to go.