It's Monday morning and later this evening, the NCAA basketball tournament will come to an end, but once again, our Bruins will not be featuring and will not be chasing after the elusive twelfth national title banner. Instead, Rick Pitino's Louisville Cardinals will take on John Beilein's Michigan Wolverines, with one of the two men adding a national championship to their already impressive resumes. Meanwhile, our Bruins trudge along with Steve Alford (mediocre coaching record, terrible record of handling athlete scandals), having never taken a true run at top-tier candidates like Shaka Smart or Rick Pitino, and not even making an honest run at Wichita State's Gregg Marshall. While one would assume that you'd fire Ben Howland only if you had an upgrade lined up, you'd be vastly underestimating Dan Guerrero's ability to be completely brain-dead.
So, while we get ready to watch
the UCLA of the Midwest Michigan take on the school whose coach we should have at least interviewed Louisville, let's try to shift our focus away from college basketball (because of how depressing it is for UCLA fans right now) and take a look at the other bits and pieces of news from around the UCLA-iverse:
- Starting with football, in case you missed it, former high school Gatorade Player of the Year Malcolm Jones has returned to the Bruins as a walk-on, having earlier left the team early last season. Jones sounds like he's taken big strides in getting mentally prepared and focused, something that he lacked in his first stint in Westwood. The kid sounds like he's eager: let's hope his need to prove the doubters wrong fuel him to a big role in the UCLA offense (we desperately need a strong runner in the Derrick Coleman mold to off-set Jordon James' speedster skill-set).
- Turning to non-revenue news, the #15-ranked softball team came up short in Salt Lake City, falling 8-3 on Sunday to drop the rubber match to the Utes. The Lady Bruins only offense came from a solo HR by Jessica Hall (1-2, 1 R, 1 RBI), and a pair of RBIs by Stephany LaRosa (1-3, 1 RBI) and Brittany Moeai (1-2, 1 RBI) in a six-hit struggle. Paige McDuffee got the start for the Bruins but she didn't last long, surrendering 4 runs in just one inning of work (1.0 IP, 4 ER, 1 BB, 0 K) to drop to 5-2 on the year. With the loss, the Lady Bruins now stand at 26-13 overall and a lowly 3-9 in conference play.
- Likewise, in the pool, the #4-ranked Lady Bruins water polo team got crushed by #2-ranked Stanford in Palo Alto, 8-1. Emily Donohoe was the only Bruin to get on the scoresheet (and only in the fourth quarter, with Stanford already up 5-0), with the Bruins misfiring all game, due to Stanford's top-rated defense. With the loss, the Bruins ar now 21-4 on the year, and just 3-2 in conference play.
- On the positive side, the #2-ranked men's tennis team shut-out the Arizona
WildcatsMildcats, 7-0, on Saturday to improve to 18-1 overall and 4-0 in conference play. After notching the doubles point, the Bruins ran a clean sweep over Arizona, with Marcos Giron, Dennis Mkrtchian, Clay Thompson, Karue Sell, Maxime Tabatruong, and Alex Brigham all picking up singles wins.
- While it wasn't as dominating, the #9-ranked Lady Bruins tennis team beat Arizona State 5-2 in the desert. The Sun Devils picked up the doubles point, but UCLA was able to pick up all but one singles match, with only Robin Anderson falling in Tempe. With the win, UCLA improves to 15-4 overall and 6-2 in conference play.
- Finally, with Rutgers having taken decisive action in firing both their head basketball coach and athletic director (unlike what we get from ol' Recessive Gene Block), former UCLA head coach Ben Howland has been connected to the vacant job in New Jersey. Reportedly, Howland is "intrigued" by the job, which would put Howland back in his east coach stomping grounds that proved so fruitful before abandoning his philosophy in Westwood.
Alright folks, those are your various bits and pieces of news from around the broader UCLA-iverse. Fire away in the comment thread with your thoughts, additions, and takes, as we get ready to watch a NCAA basketball title game without the Blue and Gold of Westwood.