Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Blue and Gold Nightcap

This special UCLA edition of the Nightcap is brought to you by Ben Howland's Kool Aid, which I am drinking liberally and finding to be quite delicious. Earlier tonight I spent an enjoyable 2 hours at Pauley Pavilion watching the much anticipated matchup between the #1 UCLA Bruins and the #223 Long Beach State 49ers. Ok, so maybe it wasn't a great game, but I did get some great seats on Craigslist, and isn't that what really matters? This was a classic letdown game for the Bruins after winning the Maui Invitational, so it wasn't much of a surprise when UCLA found themselves up only 5 at the half. But after a wake up call in the lockerroom, the Bruins stormed out on a 15-0 run to open the 2nd half and never looked back, ultimately winning by 30. Here are a few notes from the game:

The UCLA big men (Lorenzo Mata, Alfred Aboya, Ryan Wright, and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute) combined to go 7-14 from the free throw line. This has been a recurring problem for UCLA and if not corrected, will cost them a few games in conference play.

This team still misses Ryan Hollins. Hollins' shotblocking was an intimidating presence on defense and his explosive dunks were a catalyst on offense. While Mata and Aboya are great hustle guys, noone has been able to fill the void left by Hollins' departure. And with noone on the squad taller than 6'9", I'm not sure anyone will. However, if there is a guy that could do it, it's Alfred Aboya. (His dunk on top of a Florida defender was the lone highlight of the championship game.)

With a few more years of development on his offensive game, Mbah a Moute has the potential to become the next Ron Artest, only without all the craziness....
By the way, here's my audition to become an ESPN announcer: Luc Richard Mbah a Moute never gives up on a play. He's a joy to watch. He's everything that's right about college basketball.

Arron Afflalo will likely test the NBA waters again at the end of this season, but the player with the best all-around NBA game is Josh Shipp. As long as he and Afflalo don't have a battle of egos, those two will form one of the best one-two combinations in the nation. 3 pt shooting, driving to the lane, finding open teammates, aggressive
rebounding, and solid defense- there's nothing Shipp can't do. He's the player that JaRon Rush would have become if he didn't let alcohol take over his life.

I wonder what my life would have become had I never discovered alcohol? It's probably best if I don't think about that.

Overheard from the crowd after Lorenzo Mata took a hard foul right across the face: "At least he can't look any worse."

Jaleel White was in attendance tonight. He's an alumnus of UCLA and has been a supporter of their basketball program for years. Now he has courtside seats directly in front of the student section. The Lakers have Jack Nicholson. The Bruins have Urkel. That's a situation in need of an upgrade.

At 96 years of age, John Wooden is in better shape than I am.


At Wed Nov 29, 11:45:00 AM PST , Anonymous NFL Adam said...

Long Beach State is the 49ers. But that was a sadistic beat down. LBSU was the highest scoring team in 2005-06, and they were held to only 58 points.

At Wed Nov 29, 01:21:00 PM PST , Anonymous insomniac said...

Thanks for the correction. That was a dumb 4 a.m. mistake.

At Wed Nov 29, 09:28:00 PM PST , Anonymous wbrs sports blog said...

I wonder how good they would be if Farmar was still in college.


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