So, a basketball game happened. Honestly, I’m not sure what anyone was expecting. I’m not sure what I was expecting and I was the one who wrote the game preview.
In any case, let’s talk about the nitty gritty real fast. The UCLA Bruins began an important road trip, with a sweep clinching them a first round bye in the Pac-12 Tournament, and they instead fell utterly flat on their faces against the Colorado Buffaloes, never really getting close en route to a 93-68 defeat.
The Bruins could do nothing right. The shot 35.9% from the field, got outrebounded by a ridiculous 47-35 margin, and were stagnant on offense, with only six assists on the night. A poor start just snowballed; Jaylen Hands started to do too much in an attempt to get UCLA back into the game, Kris Wilkes could have stood to do way less, Moses Brown continued to show that he is nowhere close to being NBA ready, and David Singleton got *checks notes* only 15 minutes.
Colorado put in the walk-ons. Against UCLA. That happened. At least Armani Dodson got to see the court.
There really is nothing you can take away from this game. There is nothing you can take away from this season, beyond the few simple truths like Steve Alford being an awful coach who managed to put the UCLA basketball program six feet under. We’ve never been closer than we are right now to the end of this awful season.
Ok, now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about Bill Walton Bingo, aka the best thing that happened tonight.
About midway through the first half, Dave Pasch introduced us to Bill Walton Bingo. Now, this isn’t a new thing - people have been making Bingo boards based on the things Big Red has been saying for years now. But Pasch acknowledging it on-air led to my new favorite running gag this season, finally displacing the long-running gag of Murry Bartow pretending Steve Alford’s system was actually fine.
Dave Pasch playing Bill Walton Bingo on-air is perfect.— Bruins Nation (@BruinNation) March 8, 2019
Bill almost immediately tried to sabotage the game by trying to rattle off a few different sayings, but Pasch was able to redirect him away from the Bingo game and back to the actual game, and we were off to the races. Later in the first half, ESPN revealed just how fully committed they were to this whole gag by playing the Bill Walton Bingo Gong, so that people playing at home could be awoken from the catatonic state that watching UCLA basketball had put them in.
Bill Walton Bingo presented by the Rank Organisation #gong— Chris Dobbertean (@ChrisDobbertean) March 8, 2019
This was the best part of the game by a country mile. It made having to cover this game bearable, and for that I thank Dave Pasch and Bill Walton.
Jaylen Hands led the Bruins with 18 points. Cody Riley led the team with 8 rebounds, and Chris Smith led the team with 2 assists. Tyler Bey led the Buffaloes with 27 points.
- Player of the Game: Colorado. Just everyone on Colorado - It was nice to at least see one team show up to play a basketball game today.
- Area of Improvement: Free Space - Honestly, the Bill Walton Bingo game is pretty solid, but we can make some changes. For example, the Free space should definitely say “Conference of Champions” whenever we’re at a Pac-12 game, or just say Grateful Dead. Also, before anyone brings it up, I did see a Bill Walton Drinking Game crop up, and while I think the ideas are sound, the game is almost designed to kill someone who plays it while unprepared for the physical toll it can take on you. So maybe we’ll try and draft a better version of the game in time for the Pac-12 Tournament. Anything to not write about UCLA basketball for a minute.
- A Reminder that Dave Pasch is Equally Entertaining - The absolute glee that Pasch took when playing the game, along with his conversation later in the game about Lou Ferrigno promising to fight Walton if he doesn’t stop picking on him, were clear highlights in a game that lacked any on the actual basketball court.
UCLA mercifully ends the regular season on Saturday, when they travel to face the Utah Utes. Tip-off is scheduled for 4 pm PT.