If U.C.L.A…

25 March 2007

…tell him to fuck off.

Not that I’m a bad sport or anything…

Sad to from the Stones to April Wine in one day. Jeez, this sucks.

Update:  Now that I’ve calmed down a little bit…  a few thoughts.  We lost largely because we couldn’t hit a layup.  I don’t know why that happens sometimes, but it seems a bit uncanny.  In 2003, the last time we were in the FF, we obliterated Marquette in the semis and lost by 3 to Carmelo and Syracuse in the finals.  In that game, we shot 4-20 from 3 pt range and 12-30 on free throws.  Shooting 50% on FTs would have made for a tie game.

This time, we missed a million shots under the basket.  I don’t know if you can coach that stuff (“Just make the shots” or “Try harder to be accurate” just doesn’t seem like it would be effective), but clearly we get cold at the wrong times.  I thought this might be the year because we’ve had someone step up each game, and we’re deep enough to endure an off night by someone.  This game we didn’t have that happen, although we still played some good D.  There were a ton of steals in the game, helped some by the refs’ tolerant officiating.  For the record, I thought they were pretty even in their calls, and I prefer a slightly looser pattern of foul calls.  See my earlier rants about the BS charging calls that have become epidemic.

I gotta say, UCLA played a damn good game, and afterward, they acted like they’d been there before, which I appreciate.  It’s tough to see the gloating.  I expect them to celebrate and be happy, and the Bruins did so with class (to the extent that the shitty CBS coverage allowed us to witness it).  They’re a hard team for me to hate, so I won’t, even if I regret their superiority on this night.  I think we could take at least half our matchups together, but this one wasn’t ours (I learned that KU is now 0-5 against UCLA–ugh–so as much as we’d like to take them, they won’t consider us a rival anytime soon).

I was relieved when UNC lost, and not just because I wish ill upon Traitor Roy Williams, but because I didn’t want us to be the only #1 seed to miss the FF.  I have a thing about being embarrassed with a loss.  Because KU usually has a good team, it seems like everytime we lose, the headline in the national press is “XXX Stuns KU” or “KU Shocked by XXX,” which is kind of a drag.  This time, we just lost, and it was not a real upset; without a little faltering at the end of the season, UCLA would have had the 1st or 2nd seed in the tourney, and we’d have been a 2nd seed.  Plus, the game was in Cali, so it was close to home.  I’m not complaining, really (KU has had more than its share of advantages in conference tourneys 1/2 hour away in KC), but it was something of a home game.  ‘Hawk fans travel well, but they can’t compete with that.

Now we’ll see what kind of team we have for next year.  It’ll be damn good, to be sure, but there’s a good chance we’ll lose Brandon Rush to the NBA.  He didn’t look like a pro on Sat, but he has the skills.  I hope he’ll stay, not just because I want to win (to be honest, that’s probably 80% of it), but because I think it’s the better thing to do.  Contrary to this crap, the money in the NBA isn’t “better” than the college experience; it’s just different.  Yeah, I know I’d probably take it if I had the opportunity, but he’s going to be fine, and the money, while fun, isn’t a substitute for the joys of being a college baller as long as is reasonable.  Just ask Danny Manning.

Plus, as we’ve seen, our guys could use a little help.  I’d never really seen him talk or read his quotes, but Julian Wright, who probably has the best NBA potential on our team–even if he’s a little raw at the moment–has the best perspective I’ve seen.  And I admire him for it.  Note that he announced this before we lost in the tournament; as long as he means it (I don’t know why I’d think he doesn’t), then he shows the recognition that he has more to learn:

  “The route to getting better is to stay in college,” Wright said. “The NBA is more of a skills setting.”

Think about how much sooner Tyson Chandler would have become the force he is now if he’d had even one year.  I’m glad the NBA changed the rules; it’s helped pro and college hoops.

Aside:  Jeez, I just pulled up the Hornets website.  You can tell Editor B didn’t design it; they have “Shinn Family” linked right after “Home” and before “Roster” or anything people might actually care about.

Alright, enough on the hoops.  Don’t really care who wins now, which is one of the bummers about caring so much about one team.  When they’re out (ahem, Saints), the rest becomes a bit bitter.  Only one team’s fans can end the season happy.  I’m hoping one day it’ll be the Jayhawks again.