Normally, on a day like this, fresh off of yet another Ben Ball victory, we do a little analysis, complain about some of our flaws, point out the ridiculous bias and glaring inaccuracy in the fishwrap, then take a look ahead to our next opponent. Rinse and repeat. However, after once again retaining the right to call ourselves "the standard" in the Pac 10, a little more time to soak it in is richly deserved.
As I'm sure many of you are aware by now, our win yesterday was special for a couple of reasons. From the AP/Yahoo story:
Saturday's win was UCLA's fourth straight over Arizona -- a first during Olson's tenure.
I will give credit where credit is due, that is an incredible streak by ole Lute, considering that the last time they dropped three straight conference games was before I was even born. Not so impressive to me is us beating Lute four straight for the first time, as I believe Lavin had a great deal to do with that. Nevertheless, it's a fun streak to have, especially considering that Marcus the Mouth has been present for each and every one of those losses. He has NEVER beaten UCLA. But they're the standard. Whatever, Marcus.
I know, it's getting tired to keep talking about his quote, but the fishwrap actually did a decent job covering the story. Maybe one of their writers found the time in their busy schedules to actually do their job and make it to Pauley. Whatever the reason, you'll find today's wrapup light on the usual baseless bitching and moaning and sprinkled with a few amusing tidbits like this one:
Marcus Williams, who was the Pac-10's leading scorer but was held to 11 points with help from Afflalo's defense, said when Arizona was 3-0 in Pac-10 play that his team, not the defending champion Bruins, set the pace in the league.
"We're the standard," Williams said. "I don't think they're the standard."
Darren Collison, the UCLA point guard whose penetration and drives to the basket helped conquer the zone as he scored 14 points and added seven assists and five rebounds, resisted firing back at Williams.
"Marcus, he's entitled to say what he wants to say," Collison said. "It shows how tough the conference is.
"You might think you're the best in the Pac-10, and a couple of games later, you're down in the mix."
I love this team. I really do. They represent the University well. That's 100% class. Perhaps Lute and Timmeh should take some notes from a 19-year-old on what dignity and class are. Actually, forget about the notes. Just print this out, it's said that this is worth a thousand words anyway:
100% Class (Photo Credit: AP)
For the rest of us, we have guys like Dohn, who consistently does a better job than the hacks at the fishwrap, and who isn't paid to be classy, and thus, doesn't pull any punches in his article. Dohn understandably blasts The Mouth, but also picks up on this from our own Arron Afflalo:
"I don't consider us the standard," Afflalo said. "We go out, we play hard, we compete to win. We just want to win that night. We're not trying to measure ourselves up against anybody else. We're trying to be the best UCLA Bruin team we can be."
What's the word again? Oh yeah. Class.
As we all know, the SC Times has done a horrendous job covering one of the elite teams in the country, sacrificing space on a team with postseason prospects and higher aspirations to cover SUC MAYBE POSSIBLY HAVING A NUMBER NEXT TO THEIR NAME. We're only #2 in the country, but that's not a story to the local media. Of course, our elite status means that we are no longer dependent on local hacks, we have the national media to do our publicity for us now. We have transcended. I bring you Andy Katz of ESPN's take on our team and what DC means to it:
"Collison can be better than Jordan was at the end of the year," Keating said. "That's how we can get better. He starts our offense and defense."
First Yahoo scoops the Times on Bushgate, now ESPN is poaching all the good stories from our own local paper. Don't these people have any pride in their daily periodical? Guess not.
There is still improvement to be made until we can make good on that potential. Yesterday was a great start. Roll came up big in yet another big game on both ends of the floor. Aboya is showing the same steady improvement, and obviously came in as prepared as anyone to play. He was a more than capable replacement for The Prince today. Of course, we hope Luc is back soon, but the depth of this team is really showing. Keefe even nailed another three (who knew?) for good measure and Westbrook was solid on both ends as well. Unfortunately, the free throw woes are back, with two unlikely perpetrators, AA and Collison, but given that they scored 22 and 14 respectively, I think we'll let it slide this time.
In any case, the good feeling from the game is greatly enhanced by the (classy) quotes from our players indicating that they're keeping it all in perspective and aren't letting the success get to them. Gotta love basketball season.