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Ben Ball Game Day Roundup

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Finally we get to Gameday. I will get to the Cal Bears in a follow-up post but first I got some important news (both happy and sad) to share. First the good news. Awards keep pouring in for the greatest Bruin basketball player since Ed O’Bannon. As "juswatching" posted in the diaries AA is now officially an AA. From Dohn:

UCLA junior guard Arron Afflalo is reaping the rewards of being the best player on one of the top teams in the nation.

A week of honors continued Wednesday as Afflalo was selected first-team All-America by the National Association of Basketball Coaches. According to UCLA, Afflalo is the first Bruin to be named to the coaches' first team since David Greenwood in 1979.

Afflalo is joined on the team by Texas freshman Kevin Durant, Wisconsin senior Alando Tucker, Texas A&M senior Acie Law and North Carolina sophomore Tyler Hansbrough.

Afflalo, who is averaging 17.2 points for the fourth-ranked Bruins, was also named first-team All-America by ESPN.com, and first-team All-America by Dick Vitale.

Earlier this week, Afflalo was named player of the year in the Pacific-10 Conference, as well as the District IX player of the year by the United States Basketball Writers Association.
Congrats to AA. As he said earlier this week I am sure none of this really matters to him. The only thing he cares about right now is getting the job done in the conference and in the Big Dance (more on that below).

While the good news was pouring in for AA this week, DG was mourning. Really sad news out of Westwood concerning the Bruin athletic director. Here is Pucin:
UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero, whose father, Gene, died Tuesday, will participate in the NCAA selection process as a committee member this weekend.

Gary Walters, chairman of the NCAA selection committee, said in a statement that arrangements had been made to allow Guerrero to "participate remotely throughout the selection, seeding and bracketing process."

Gene Guerrero died at age 79 of cancer at his home in Moreno Valley. Services are at 11 a.m. Saturday at Calvary Chapel, 11960 Pettit St., Moreno Valley.
Prayers and thoughts go out to the Guerrero family from the entire Bruins Nation.

In terms of the game today we have been talking about the whole week how the Bruins are working on learning from lessons from past Saturday. Today we finally get to hear from DC, who was the focus of lot of the concerns coming out of Saturday’s game. DC sounds like he is ready to go in today’s OCR:
UCLA got roughed up in its previous game, said point guard Darren Collison. Washington bullied the Bruins in a 61-51 Huskies' victory last Saturday. If that's difficult for them to grasp, perhaps they should try a little harder.

"It's the truth," Collison said. "But, I think if you understand what really happened, you can get better from that. If we continue to shy away from the fact that we didn't hang tough, say that we just had a bad game, and we don't really know why, we can never get better.

"We just got out-toughed that game and that's not how we play. We usually out-tough the other team, but on that particular day, we just got out-toughed."

The thing now, as Collison said, is to learn from it, and the Bruins hope to have three chances this weekend to prove it in the Pac-10 Tournament, starting today at 2 p.m. with a quarterfinal game against Cal, a team they beat twice with ease during the regular season.
I have no doubt DC will be ready. He is going to have his team-leader AA on his side, who had this to say about learning from last Saturday’s loss (from the same OCR report):
"All you can do is learn from it and hope that kind of mistake doesn't come back and end your season. At this point in time, I would find it very hard for us to have those lapses, understanding the stakes now, understanding that it's elimination time now, that there is no bouncing back, and that we have to be at our best for 40 minutes."
I think Bruins will have a challenge on their hand this afternoon at Staples. Cal is not bad team. I caught the end of their first half game against Oregon State. Ryan Anderson looked deadly and the Bruin bigs better be ready for him. As I am sure it has been drilled into our players heads by now, our guys simply cannot afford to come out with the same mindset they came out with against Washington. As AA said it’s elimination time and there is no bouncing back.

GO BRUINS.