Little bit of net traffic here on BN. Oh well. Double the victory laps and double the concern for the Prince. -T
It is a busy sports weekend, with the big game coming up, and Bruins everywhere gaining a new rooting interest if they didn't previously have one. Tom Coughlin was the former coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars (my favorite team from before MJD and Marcedes joined up) and while his perception was that of a relentless taskmaster, he could not have picked a better role model than John Wooden. In other semi-Bruins related news, Jordan Farmar and Trevor Ariza's team, the Lakers, happened to pick up Pau Gasol from Memphis (possible assist from Jerry West there). With Gasol in the lineup, a championship ring for Farmar and Ariza is not out of the question in the near future.
Now getting back to the dismantling of the Wildcats yesterday. Some may remember two years ago when an improbable loss to SUC became the inspiration for a young Ben Howland team to crush their opposition en route to the National Title game. The national media and Andy Katz have noticed that perhaps the same thing is going on:
Mathematically it's still possible that UCLA -- holding a one-game lead in the loss column on second-place Stanford, which already lost to the Bruins -- could drop out of first place. But it's hard to make the argument.
Since the loss to USC, UCLA has swept through Oregon and Oregon State on the road, then totally dismantled Arizona State by 33 and pounced on previously hot Arizona 82-60 Saturday night at Pauley Pavilion -- the largest margin of victory in the series since 1983.
"It was a blessing in disguise losing that game [to USC] because we kept getting better," said star freshman Kevin Love. "And for me, individually, it was great to get those wins in front of all those people [in Eugene] who hate me for not going to that school."
Howland said the two wins over the Arizona schools were the best combined games the Bruins have played this season.
"I couldn't be happier with our team right now," the coach said.
There is still a long way to go in this season and I believe there is still improvement to be had. For one thing we need our guys to get healthy and with Luc questionable for the game in Pullman, it seems like there is always a reason for concern. Fortunately the injury is a sprain and not a fracture, but there is still no word on how long he will be out. However, the nature of the win over UA has our players thinking they have MD's
"Luc will be back, don't worry," said Westbrook, who finished with a career-high 21 points on 10-for-13 shooting.
After Westbrook embarrassed and humiliated Budinger, I don't blame him for having enthusiasm, but I'd really like to see our team be able to gel having Luc on the floor, because the defense really suffered when he missed the Oregon trip. We will hope to see the Prince up in Pullman, and settle in for Superbowl Sunday.