As awful as the Bruins played for the first 25 minutes, there were some positives to take from this game:
- Aaron Afflalo and Mike Roll were a combined 1-17 in this game, and that's not going to happen again. Credit the Mountaineer defense for some of that, credit that pathetic Pac 10 officials for at least one of those, but that's not going to happen again. Sometimes you just don't have it, and today, they didn't have it.
- The Bruins made a tremendous effort in the second half to get the game back to a point where they had a chance to win. It's possible, though perhaps unlikely, that these teams could meet in the NCAA tournament, and if that happens, the Bruins know that for a big stretch of this game, they dominated. Mentally, that's important. I could tell you why I think so, but you'd probably laugh, and and it would take a longer post.
- Jordan Farmar is starting to shake his offensive slump.
- I'm going to talk about this all year, but this team's window is next year. What we saw was a bunch of freshman and sophomores (and Ryan Hollins) playing a bunch of well coached seniors. This season presents the rare opportunity for the Bruins to compete while also learning a lot. This is just one more learning experience.
- Finally, this isn't a conference game. Sure, it's national TV. It's important. But they lost to a higher ranked team, and they acquitted themselves pretty well. And ultimately, they still lead the Pac 10.
Finally, I need to make the following point. I really think this game is going to be valuable for the Bruins. It's not going to do a thing to their NCAA resume. It helps their strength of schedule. It doesn't affect their position in the conference. It provides a great learning experience and some valuable exposure. But let's remember, these are the types of games that Ben Howland, God love him, wants to eliminate. The extra game during U$C week. The intersectional battles against good teams. He didn't schedule these games at Pitt, and he's been reluctant to schedule them at UCLA.
So to sum up, a very poor first half, a solid second half, and a good learning experience at essentially no cost. There are reasons to be optimistic.