I am not a big fan of inter conference flame wars. Yes, I have had my share of posts over the years ragging on a particular conference when it comes to both hoops and football while sticking up for the Pac-10. I live in a city where there are people from all over the country, immensely proud and loyal to whatever areas they come from or what school they went to. So I have had my share of conference smack talk. The thing is, it never gets us anywhere. So, I usually don't feel compelled to respond to anymore whenever I see people from other conferences dissing on Pac-10 or UCLA. I now just brush it off as a result of our conference's pathetic TV contract and am convinced that if we really want to get that situation resolved we would need to focus our energy on holding the incompetent Pac-10 commissioner accountable. I just find all the conference smack kind of boring.
However, once in a while I find myself in a position in which I have no choice except to respond. I just stumbled across this post on Burnt Orange Nation, written by HornsFan, a wonderful SBN colleague who I have a lot of respect for. HF is soaking up the March Madness and getting into the nitty gritty of all the brackets. Good for him. Today he put up a post of email exchanges he had with former ESPN analyst Dan Shannoff. The posts contain a lot of great observations between the two of them. Except for this, in which HornsFan completely missed the boat on our Bruins:
HornsFan calls AA as the only "legitimate scorer" in the entire league? Say what? Last time I checked, our boy AA is the fourth leading scorer in our conference. I'd argue it's Aaron Brooks who is the most prolific scorer in the Pac-10, who carried the Ducks on his back, lighting up the scoreboard whole season, pulling out one clutch win after another. Then there is Nick Young from across-town. Yes, I am sticking up for a Trojie. Young, when he declares for the draft after the season is over, is going to be a sure fire first round draft pick, who has it all. He can go inside, sliding and gliding to the hoop, while he can also torch his opponents from NBA three point range. He also happened to be the second leading scorer in the Pac-10. Then, of course, there are talents like Ryan Anderson (Cal) and Chase Budinger (UA) who lit up the league in their first season. So, for HornsFan to come up with that observation makes him look silly or, at best, like just another fan who has no clue what is going on out West. [See Pac-10 Stats]
And I am not getting HornsFan's beef with UCLA's offensive efficiency. BON is a site that heavily relies on PomeRoy's stats while writing up their game previews (which are IMHO top notch posts). Right now, based on Pomeroy, UCLA has the 18th best offense in the country. However, IIRC going into the Washington game, our offense was performing really well, as it was listed in the top-10 in that category pretty much the entire season. Sure, the unfocused performance from a team without any seniors, which clinched the outright Pac-10 title with a game to go, had an effect on our final offensive stats. Yet the stats as of today still paint the picture of UCLA as a top-20 offensive team. Do we have some offensive issues to iron out? Sure we do. Can our offense have some few other wrinkles in it? It sure can. We also have some defensive issues to figure out. However, I believe one misses the mark criticizing the efficiency of our offense, given at the level our offense has performed the whole season. Our offensive numbers have taken a tumble during last two games. If we get back to the level we were playing at through the Washington State game, we are going to be alright.
By the way, last time I checked, UCLA is not a one man team. True, AA is the heart and soul of our team. Yet this season there have been games which we have pulled out despite AA not being on for the entire game.
Lastly, I had to laugh at the comments on Kelvin Sampson from Indiana (who HornsFan is familiar from his coaching career at OU). Yeah, UCLA fans have followed Sampson's career pretty well. We remember quite well how Harrick's team use to beat up on Sampson's Wazzu Cougars teams. Living in DC, I have seen Sampson's Hoosiers a few times. I have a feeling if the Bruins were to play the Hoosiers, Howland is not going to be shaking in his Addidas. Hoosiers have one legit outside shooter. DJ White is a decent player. But I am sure Mata, AA2, and Luc and co. have seen craftier bigs with better skills in the Pac-10. And, last time I checked, should we even get to a UCLA v. Indiana matchup, the Hoosiers are not going to be playing anywhere close to Jimmy Chitwood's hood. Anyways, we can go on and on. This is just one reason I try not get to over analytical mode during this time of the season. All of this is not going to matter if Weber State put together an incredible game or if the Zags clown an over-rated ESPN hyped squad from Indiana.
We just have to worry about our end of the deal.
Anyways, I want to reiterate how much respect I have for HF's posts over at BON. But he totally missed the mark on this one. I guess I can't blame him too much b/c at this point probably all the hardcore hoops junkies are suffering from a case of information overload. As for me, I am starting to get a little weary and impatient from the proverbial paralysis from analysis. I am ready for the games to start.