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JustSC Sunday News & Notes

Ben Ball warriors are back in action tonight after a long week break, which should have given them some time to refresh, reset and perhaps heal up. We will see whether they can get back on track tonight against Southern Cal, which to me is just another basketball game.

That's right I don't consider this game against a program with 0 national championships, 0 Final-4s, and 2 (count them 2) Pac-10 title since 1940 a big deal. It's just another against JustSC, which hopefully give us a chance to get back on track.

In today's game report Dohn sets up the table perfectly (emphasis added):

The rivalry means something, UCLA's players say, but at this point it is petty compared to what really matters.

The Bruins don't want to be swept by USC for the first time in four years, but far more important is making sure they are not swept from Anaheim or Phoenix when the NCAA Tournament brackets are set next month.

So while No. 6 UCLA tries to make amends for last month's loss to the Trojans when they meet tonight at the Galen Center, UCLA's real focus is on regaining its hold on the Pacific-10 Conference, so the NCAA selection committee keeps the Bruins close to home for a third straight March.

"I think it's bigger than rivalry," UCLA point guard Darren Collison said. "We're not even looking at that. We didn't look at (that) in the first game, and we're definitely not going to look at it for the second game. We're in a battle right now. We're trying to win the Pac-10 Conference, and we're right there. We have no room for losing right now."

The Bruins are tied with Stanford atop the Pac-10. At stake over UCLA's final seven regular-season games, and the early rounds of the Pac-10 tournament, is its NCAA seed.

In each of the past two seasons, the Bruins advanced to the Final Four with tremendous play on the court - and a home-court advantage at each venue. Two years ago the Bruins played in San Diego and Oakland. Last March, UCLA was in Sacramento and San Jose.
This is year the games are at Anaheim (the first round) and Phoenix in the next round.

So what's at stake is not exactly avenging the loss against these gap closers from few weeks ago, but making sure what we can to finish last four weeks strong so that we can defend our Pac-10 title and do well enough in the conference tourney giving us a shot to stay out West.

If anything today's game is a do or die game for Timmeh's gap closers. If they stumble today on their home court, it could be a nail in their tournament coffin (unless if you consider NIT as something legit).

No doubt the cheerleading lapdogs in the local media are hyperventilating over tonight's matchup. Yeah, the Trojan Times once again sheds away any semblance of impartiality as it allows Ben Bolch, the beat `reporter' covering Timmeh's all stars (who once compared UCLA-Southern Cal hoops rivalry to that of UNC-Duke), to write the only report on tonight's game. Here is Benny's big scoop:
In a possibly unprecedented move, USC is expected to wear black uniforms tonight as part of a "Black out the Bruins" promotion in which fans are also encouraged to wear black shirts.
Uh yeah. So unprecedented! Hopefully Benny read this from Perelman in his own newspaper's UCLA blog:
It's reminiscent of UCLA's failed experiment with black jerseys during the Steve Lavin era, now almost (thankfully) forgotten.
In other words it's a cheap, trashy, cheesy, gimmicky move usually tried by losers like Lavin.

Hey who knows. It could work out for these losers. And they may end up wining tonight's game causing idiots like Bolch to get even more carried away. But if you have been around long enough you'd know getting swept by insignificant, irrelevant programs like Washington and Southern Cal didn't prevent our Bruins from winning the Pac-10 and going deep in the Big Dance in years like 1992 and 2006. Eyes on the ball people.

Game thread will be up later tonight. Meanwhile, enjoy your JustSC Sunday.