March Madness Notes
UCLA did not become the Number 2 team in the country on accident. The Bruins won 28 games this year beating Maryland, Michigan State, Michigan, Stanford, Washington State, Arizona, etc. They have key players in every position. Even though the Bruins have earned their ranking they've also had a lot of help. UCLA has roled down the Pac 10 stretch, with 7 straight wins to leave Stanford in the dust. Although, some people think they may have gotten lucky their last 3 games.
The Bruins knew senior night on a Pac 10 rival floor would be hard to win. It was made even harder when Lute Olson came to honor Arizona's seniors for their final home game. The Bruins almost blew a 67-63 lead with less than 50 seconds but then started to get lucky. Jerryd Bayless only connected on 1 out of 2 free throws late. After they battled the rebound out of bounds, Arizona had a chance to win or tie but Bayless missed the buzzer shot and the Bruins walked away with the W.
The zebra led the Bruins out of arms way, forcing an overtime session where UCLA went on a 14-4 run to beat the Cardinal 77-67. They were in trouble for most of the game. The Lopez twins were all over Love and the Bruins ended up with a season low 18 points in the first half. However, Thanks to coach Ben Howland's ability to make transitional adjustments, they ended up with a 45 point second frame.
Josh Shipp's shot with 1.5 seconds left brave the Bruins an 81-80 victory over Cal. However, it was questionable as to whether or not the shot should have counted. Shipp's jumper appeared to come from behind the backboard which would have been in direct violation of the NCAA rules which states that the ball should be out of bounds when it passes over the backboard from any direction. After requests from an angry Cal coach Ben Braun, Dave Libbey said that the play was very close and not reviewable. Cal forward Ryan Anderson was mugged by Westbrook and Shipp with 17 seconds left which forced a turnover that wave Shipp a chance to win the game.
The real question going into March Madness is not whether or not the Bruins are getting calls, it's how long it will last. Things always seem to have a way of evening things out in the end.