Friday, December 29, 2006

Week Long Hangover

After a week long hiatus, it's time to shake off some rust. I could give an in-depth analysis of strength of schedule and quality wins amongst the NCAA elite, but that sounds like a lot of work. How 'bout I just recap Thursday's action instead? Baby steps.

I was with 11,000 of my best friends at Pauley Pavilion last night as we watched the Bruins play just well enough to beat the Washington State Cougars, 55-52. The Bruins never really got into a flow offensively thanks to a combination of a good defensive gameplan from Wazzu and poor execution from UCLA's offense. In the end, Darren Collison decided to take things into his own hands. Since UCLA won, it's called "putting the team on his back." Had they lost however, I'd be criticizing him for forcing the action.

The game wasn't much to look at, but fortunately, the UCLA dance team was. This season, UCLA's dancers have adopted the rival USC song girls' strategy of adapting their dance routines from a strip club and I for one applaud that bold decision. Sitting in the stands during their routines, I felt like Kevin Spacey in American Beauty, only much, much dirtier. Thanks ladies!

The Bruins will have another tough game Sunday when they play host to the Washington Huskies, who certainly will be seething after their double overtime loss to USC. Spencer Hawes played 47 of the 50 minutes and was the only starter not to foul out for the Huskies in what was a typically poorly officiated pac-10 game. (Tho the officials weren't to blame for the Huskies loss. USC was burned by the refs both at the end of regulation on a non-foul call and at the end of the 1st OT on a missed out of bounds call. The refs just stunk throughout.) Huskies' fans better savor their one year with Hawes, who showed a variety of polished moves in the post as well as a solid midrange jumper. He's surpassed Tyler Hansbrough as the 2nd best center prospect in the game. He could start at center for the neighboring Seattle Supersonics right now. Ok, that really isn't saying much. But trust me- he's a damn fine player.

In college football, Cal saved the Pac-10 from total embarassment by beating Texas A&M 45-10. Leading up to the game, the Pac-10 was 0-3 in bowl play and hadn't come within 2 TDs of winning any of those games. One of those losses included UCLA's 44-27 loss to Florida State. It was yet another bad loss for the Bruins, but perhaps it actually provides the best of both worlds for UCLA fans. The Bruins still have the joy from their 13-9 victory to knock USC out of the title hunt, but now they also have the bowl loss to provide momentum for the "Fire Karl Dorrell" campaign. As Rosie Perez so poignantly said in White Man Can't Jump, sometimes when you lose, you actually win.

The North Carolina State Bar has filed ethics charges against District Attorney Mike Nifong now that charges against the Duke lacrosse team have been dropped. One of the members of the ethics committee is a law professor at Duke University. Coincidence? I hope people are learning their lesson. You do not mess with Duke athletics. Even if it's just lacrosse. Just to be safe, I'm enrolling myself in Dick Vitale's Blue Devil appreciation course so I can be certain of how to appropriately heap praise upon all things Duke. How's this: Way to get those charges dismissed, lacrosse guys! You guys were super, scintillating, sensational! Tho not at the same time in a locked bathroom with a stripper.

The Giants signed Barry Zito for $18 million a year over 7 years. I'm willing to bet that Zito never gets 18 wins in any of those $18 million seasons. Any takers?


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