Almost there. Less than 12 hours to go. It is going to be very hard to focus at work today. But will make it happen. This morning when I was on the subway my mind went back to that Monday afternoon 11 years ago. Still remember that very vividly. I remember what I wore. I remember all the conversations that were going on at the BruinWalk, at the student store, at Kerkhoff Coffee house, inside the classrooms and at work. People had one question on there mind - "where are you watching the game tonight?" Of course we have written and talked about that night over and over again last 11 years. Quiet simply my second best night during those magical years in Westwood (first one was the night I met my wife during first week of freshman year).
Anyways, we all know what's at stake tonight. But I as I have been writing and as this article implies - it doesn't matter what happens tonight. The restoration of UCLA basketball is (almost) complete. It may happen tonight and if not tonight - it will happen next year or the year after. Banner no. 12 is a formality and the only question that remains to be answered whether our boys can pull it out tonight. And from Dohn article it is clear they are focused and determined and they clearly understand what?s at stake:
Afflalo is the defensive stalwart, who doubles as UCLA's leading scorer. Farmar is the brash point guard, able to run the offense, and get in the face of teammates when mistakes are made.
Their iron wills of competitiveness mirror that of Howland, and both understand the significance of playing the Gators for the championship.
"Kids our age don't always realize what they're doing at the time," said Afflalo, 20, who is averaging 16 points per game. "Final Four experiences and national championships have a lot of historical value. There are a lot of people who love this game. There are millions of kids on the playground who would love to be in our shoes right now. We feel very fortunate to be here and want to take advantage of this opportunity."
We know most of the times we are not going to get any love from the Eastern establishment based national media. Sure occasionally some of the writers with LA roots will throw us a bone. But we started journey this alone. All we had was our Coach, our players, students, alumni, season ticket holders, people who bleed blue and gold. Once again rest of the nation will most likely root against us, the analysts will pick the Gators. Anyone who gets a chance will make another derisive reference to Walton, Kareem, ala Lavin's "Walton is not walking through that door." But that's fine. We love our Coach and our players and it is pretty clear from their remarks through last 2-3 years how much they LOVE the BruinsNation. That works for us. All right off my soap box.
DN of course is all over today's coverage. Romona Shellburne has an article on our Cameroon connection. Dilbeck is feeling good about tonight. Dohn has details on individual matchups, and this time he gives the coaching edge to Howland. Also, don't forget the must read championship game preview from BBR.
LA Times of course has been trying to jump on our bandwagon. Never mind they didn't bother to cover us much the whole season. Never mind during the UCLA-USC basketball game week they were doing more stories on how Tim Floyd was building a program in South Central (lol) than writing about how Howland was guiding the program to a Pac-10 title despite losing 87-man game due to injuries. They are finally providing some coverage on the Bruins. But don't be too impressed. Plashcke has another idiotic (cue John Tesh in the background) like take and this time it's Dufresne's turn to give the asinine take on how Bruins winning may not sit well with today's recruits. Yeah ... kids really love losing and crying like Redick and Morrison, instead of getting opportunities to cut down the nets. To be fair to the Times Pucin tries to balance Dufrense's stupidity by providing this take on Bruin's recruiting. You get the picture - these scribes will write anything or everything to fit their narrative. For more game day stories make sure to check out BBR and Bruin Hoop Scoop.
Anyways enough linking. I just have one wish. I have made no secrets on how much I HEART Ced. I just hope at the end of tonight's game I get to see Ced leavingg the Dome experiencing this:
Yeap that was King Ed in 1995. Let's hope few years from now someone else will be writing about King Ced.
One more game.
One more night.
Nothing but LOVE from the BruinsNation.