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Bill Simmons and the Kiss of Death

I'm not sure how I feel about Bill Simmons.

I read his ESPN column semi-regularly, I'd probably read it more if I remembered to read it, but I'm still a newspaper guy and a radio guy and haven't quite got in the habit of reading anything on the web regularly (except Nestor but that's just because I'm afraid otherwise my checks won't cash.)

Push come to shove, I'd have to say I'm a fan of Simmons, he's probably the best writer on the web.

There, I said it.

I do hold it against him that he's friends with L.A. talk show personality (and I use the term "personality" very loosely) Dave Dameshek against him (the best thing I can say about Dameshek is that his show is so horrible I've started listening to NPR on the way from work and become a much more informed citizen in the proces.) Simmons is also a fan of all the Boston teams and ... seriously ... fuck the Red Sox.

Simmons also spends a little too much time in Popcultureville -- his show sometimes reads like a sports talk radio show that just got the word that listeners want "man talk" not "sports talk." But, we grew up watching the same TV shows, so I'll give him a pass.

I did already mention he's the best writer on the web. Which might be sort of like being the fastest guy on the bowling team -- impressive but not saying much.

Today's column is worth a read no matter how much you like or dislike Simmons. In it, he gives the Bruins his "kiss of death."

I have some bad news for UCLA fans: I'm about to kill your season by picking the Bruins to take the 2008 title.

Please don't consider this a bandwagon pick, although it's true UCLA became my "favorite" college team, and I watched the Bruins more than every other '08 team combined. Up until two weekends ago, I didn't think they had enough to win six straight March Madness games because of the way they struggled to get easy baskets. But UCLA's biggest handicap eventually morphed into its biggest strength -- the Bruins don't have a low-post stud (like Michael Beasley) or an ankle-breaking perimeter guy (like Jerryd Bayless), but they do have a team full of "MacGyvers." And it's one of those college seasons where the best MacGyver team is going to win.

Remember MacGyver? He wasn't a stereotypical action hero and saved the world with whatever gadgets he could whip up on the fly, but the point was, he did keep saving the world. That's how UCLA plays. Maybe the Bruins don't have that killer offensive player or shoot 3-pointers consistently well, but they have a knack for making big plays in big moments … even if it's a game-winning basket where they grab two offensive rebounds and rescue a pass that bounced off someone's face before the winning hoop gets scored. Everything you need to know about UCLA's season happened in the Cal game two weeks ago. Down four with 20 seconds left, Kevin Love nailed a Laimbeer-like 3-pointer with a hand in his face. Somehow, the Bruins stole the ball on the ensuing possession after two of their players legally assaulted Cal's Ryan Anderson, and then, Josh Shipp made the game winner on an illegal prayer over the backboard. That was the ultimate MacGyver victory. But here's what everyone missed from that game: If you watch the replay of the illegal shot that never should have counted because everyone and their brother know you can't shoot over the backboard, even as Shipp is driving baseline and preparing to hoist The Shot That Never Should Have Counted, everyone was watching him except for Love, who bullied himself underneath the basket before the ball was even released. Had there been a bounce, Love would have tipped it in.

Just read the rest via the link above.

Here is a picture of Macgyver: