It's like they chose tonight to specifically piss me off. We don't get the Kings game, but we get the sucks game. We don't get the Bruins game, but we get the U$C game. What the fuck?
Anyway, Kings with a great comeback get four goals in the third period and beat Calgary after getting only two shots in the first period. Wish I could tell you more, but see above.
On the other end of things, the Bruins are making me glad that this game isn't televised, as they seem to be having big problems handling that national powerhouse from Wagner, on their own freaking court, no less. As I write this, they're down 8 with under 10 minutes to go, and I'll predict right now that UCLA is going to lose this game. It doesn't matter who's playing. It doesn't matter who's coaching. It doesn't matter who they've beaten on the season. When they play these games, they simply refuse to show up.
What do I mean, exactly? Let's look at a study in contrasts. The same team Coppin State team that UCLA trailed at halftime was held to 12 points in the first half against Illinois, who beat them by 20. Good teams don't just beat the teams they're supposed to beat. They hammer the teams they're supposed to beat. And everyone is going to have a down game sooner or later. Hell, Illinois barely beat Wichita State. But other than that game, their only single digit victories (no losses) have come against a ranked North Carolina team at Carolina, and a decent Xavier team in Chicago. Meanwhile, the Bruins have had scares against Coppin State, Albany, and Drexel. The Illini have won 5 games by 20 or more points, and 3 of those by 30 or more. Meanwhile, UCLA has no 20 point wins (one 19 point win against Delaware State). See what I'm getting at? I don't know if it's the coaching. I don't know if it's the players that come out of Southern California. I don't know if it's the lackadasical crowds. But UCLA simply doesn't hammer the teams that they should hammer. And quite frankly, it gets to be damn frustrating. It doesn't make it any easier to take when you realize that across town, U$C is taking it to Carolina right now.
Speaking of hammering teams, the Illini absolutely demolished Missouri tonight in the annual bragging rights game, the sixth straight win for the Illini in the series, going back the first year with Frankie Williams (my second year in law school). Dee and Augie will graduate having never lost to Mizzou. Honestly, this is as much a rivalry as UCLA-U$C has been in football lately. Dee led the Illini with 17 points as he shot the ball well again. Jamar Smith continues to be a joy to watch shoot. And the defense remains stifling. I don't know what difference he would have made last year, and maybe when all is said and done, we'll be glad he redshirted, but I can't help but think it would have been nice to have Brian Randle and his athletic ability on defense against North Carolina. But I understand that wall had been riding him all day and Randle had to take care of business. Sure, he broke his hand and missed the season when he punched that wall, but from what I hear, the wall hasn't trash talked him since.
68-68 with a few minutes to go, UCLA with the ball. They just might pull the escape yet again.
**Update** UCLA wins 74-72. Ben Howland doesn't like to play a tough schedule. If he can't get the team to play any better than this against inferior opponents, maybe he knows more about his ability to beat the big boys (or lack thereof) than we do.