Monday, April 07, 2008

College Round-Up: Bruins Never Find Their Stride

Sorry for the delay. I've been waiting to see if anything was going to hatch from that egg UCLA laid Saturday. So far, nothing- but I think I might see Darren Collison poking his head out for one more year at UCLA after scouts saw his performance against NBA-ready point guard Derrick Rose. (Although on the other hand, is Collison going to get any taller or faster if he stays another year?)

Credit certainly goes to Memphis, which was the faster, more relaxed, and better prepared team over the weekend. They ran the basketball version of college football's spread offense, eliminating the opportunity for double-teams and taking advantage of individual matchups. Ben Howland's Bruins never had a response. As a fan, you can accept losing to a better team, as long as your own team puts forth its best effort. Memphis may very well be the better team, but the Bruins didn't do their part in making it a competitive game, which is ultimately the most disappointing aspect for UCLA fans (the same can be said for those wearing Carolina Blue).

Oh well. Now it's time for the drinking to stop and the healing to begin. I understand there's another college game being played today. It's a pretty big day for Kansas and Memphis fans. Not only will one of you be national champions tonight, but it might also be the last night you see your respective coaches wearing a tie with your team's colors.

John Calipari has called this Memphis squad "a dream team," and now Calipari is one win away from realizing his dream- becoming the next head coach of the New York Knicks. If he's really lucky, he can just give Derrick Rose an extension of his existing contract to come along with him to Madison Square Garden.

Meanwhile, the rumor is that eccentric billionaire T Boone Pickens is prepared to offer Bill Self as much as $40 million to return to his alma mater, Oklahoma State, as their basketball coach. Bill Self is a good coach and all, but that is just nuts. If Pickens really wants to elevate the profile of the basketball program, he should be directing that 40 mil towards high school seniors, not a coach.

In other coaching news, Ben Braun has accepted an offer to coach at Rice University next season. From my understanding, whatever salary Rice pays Braun gets deducted from the buyout that Cal must pay him, making this the best thing Braun has done for Cal's basketball program in about five years.

Oregon State has hired former Brown coach, Craig Robinson as its next head coach. In addition to being a basketball coach, Robinson is also Barack Obama's brother-in-law. Can the Beavers win one conference game next season? Yes, they can!

As UCLA prepares for the next season, I'd like to point out to the athletic department that the Bruins are undefeated in games in which I've sat courtside and taken pictures of the action. Just something to keep in mind when you're assigning press passes next year...ya know, if you really care about winning.

Finally, I might as well make a prediction for tonight's game. I think Bill Self will learn from Ben Howland's mistakes and force Memphis to shoot more from outside. This will be a game of runs, and despite 50 combined points from Rose and Douglas-Roberts and three bush-league moves by 24 year-old Joey Dorsey, Memphis will come up just short in a late rally. Kansas 81, Memphis 79.



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