Guess what? Steve Alford, scumbag extraordinaire, will lead out the UCLA men's basketball team this afternoon at a mostly empty Pauley Pavilion to take on the Utes from Salt Lake City. As I've said before, I really couldn't care less. But if you're one of the few Bruin fans who are able to somehow create the intellectual dishonesty that a victory for the players is not a victory for the sleazebag running the team, then you'll want to know that tip-off is at 2 p.m. PST and will be on the Pac-12 Network. There will be a game thread here later this afternoon, but for now, let's go through the various bits and pieces of news from around the UCLA-iverse for this hoops day Saturday:
- In case you missed it, Tom Crean at Indiana isn't doing so hot in Hoosierville. In an ideal world, Steve Alford (who is like Lane Kiffin in more ways than you realize) will continue to fail upwards and parlay his mediocre season in a woefully pathetic Pac-12 conference into landing his dream job at Indiana. But while the Indianapolis Star is quick to throw water on it, we have high hopes that Indiana can bring back one of their own Bobby Knight disciples to Bloomington. Of course, Chianti Dan will promptly announce he's interviewing Phil Jackson for our opening, only to panic and turn around and hire Kurt Rambis.
- Jack Wang over at the Los Angeles Daily News is saying what we've all known for a while: with UCLA's mediocre resume, any late-season collapse will likely cost the Bruins a spot in March Madness. Considering Alford has yet to give UCLA a respectable, big-time win, choking down the home stretch in a pathetically soft Pac-12 conference will likely land the Hoosier Loser and our Bruins inthe NIT. But, if that happens, perhaps the Bruins can give another Ivy League school their first post-season tournament win ever (it looks like Steve won't get another shot at Harvard since they'll actually make it into the real tournament).
- Turning to today's game itself, the official athletics website has a preview available here, which includes all the information for how to tune in (or tune out) to this afternoon's game. And if you're one of the 84 fans going to Pauley Pavilion this afternoon, you should be advised that there's going to be lane closures on the 405 today, so plan accordingly. Or simply plan on not going: believe me, you're not missing much.
- Just in case you were wondering, there was a Ben Howland sighting at this Friday night's College of Idaho's hoops game against Eastern Oregon. Apparently, Howland was taking in a game, watching his former assistant and now CI's head coach Scott Garson in action.
- Speaking of Howland, one of his former players and one of our favorite Bruins, Darren Collison, was profiled and praised in the Los Angeles Times for his role in keeping the Clippers moving forward while Chris Paul was out injured. Remember when we have real point guards running our offense? You know guys who earned their scholarship to UCLA and weren't gifted it by their daddy? Oh, the good ol' days.
- Finally, a neat story connected to one of our favorite Cameroonians: Kansas big man Joel Embiid's story was featured recently on ESPN, and of course, the kid who is making NBA scouts "salivate" as the WWL points out, wasn't even a basketball player until he was spotted by one of the few Cameroonians to make it to the NBA: the Prince himself, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. Shame we couldn't get the Mbah a Moute/Aboya recruiting pipeline to get him to Westwood, but if you were given the choice of playing for Bill Self and Steve Alford, well, that's kind of a no-brainer.
Alright folks, those are your various bits and pieces of news as we get ready for another
thrilling basketball game against a lackluster Utah squad at Pauley Pavilion. Fire away in the comment thread with your takes, additions, and notes about today's hoops game (or if you're like and could care less, what you'll be doing instead of wasting your time on scumbag named Steve Alford).