Saturday, April 01, 2006

Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder: UCLA 59; LSU 45

Ugly. That's what they all called them. Said UCLA played an ugly style. Well, tonight, they executed on both ends, and showed that the idiots who criticized the Bruins based on one game against Memphis (while ignoring their other game against Memphis) are a bunch of morons.

Thanks to a second half slow down by the Bruins who held a huge lead with 15 minutes to go, the score of this one actually ended up close to what was predicted by most of the press. But the final score doesn't tell the story of how much the Bruins dominated this game. They led by 15 points at half time, and they seemed to build up a pretty proportional lead all the way through the first 25 minutes or so. Against Memphis, the Bruins had four field goals in the second half of the game. Tonight, they had four field goals in the first five minutes, inlcuding two three pointers.

The second half opened much the same way. The Bruins canned four shots in the first four minutes. And when your first four baskets of the half consist of three dunks, including an alley-oop against the zone, and a three pointer from 25 feet with the shot clock about to run out, you're doing pretty good.

Once again, the story of the game was the Bruins defense. That's been the case for the last month. It's easier to play that sort of defense when everyone you have on the floor is rester. Starter played 53 minutes in the first half for the Bruins, while the subs played 47. That, folks, is depth.

Player of the game for UCLA was clearly LRMAM, who really got the job done on both sides of the floor. Seventeen points and nine rebounds, while playing excellent defense on Glen Davis, and really owning him athletically on the offensive end. Unsung player of the game was Lorenzo Mata. The box score I'm looking at right now has him credited with seven boards, but I could have sworn it was more, and that might change. But not only did he pull down rebounds, he pulled them down at huge times. When you have a double digit lead, you run down 30 seconds off the shot clock, miss the shot, and you're able to grab the rebound, that puts your opponents on defense for another 30 seconds. That's difficult to play through both physically AND mentally, and ultimately, that was the difference. LSU has been a better rebounding team all year, but UCLA owned them on the boards tonight.

About that defense, Big Baby and Tyrus Thomas combined for only 19 points on 7-21 shooting and 12 rebounds. LRMAM almost out counted them on his own. LSU didn't hit one three pointer in this one. Over the last two games, UCLA opponents have looked lost from beyong the arc.

Monday brings Florida, who have played extremely well during this tournament (obviously). They bring the size and athleticism of LSU, but unlike the Tigers, they hit their threes, and that will be a challenge for the Bruins. The other thing Florida has in its favor is the timing. Give Ben Howland a week to prepare, and he showed tonight that he's gonna find a way to exploit your weaknesses. He's only got two days for the Gators, and only time will tell what will happen.

Two young teams, two teams that will probably be picked for this game next season depending on the NBA draft (along with Carolina, Ohio State, and probably this LSU team), meet for the chamnpionship a year ahead of schedule. Let's hope it's one to remember. Of course, a Bruins blowout would be just fine, too.

LSU vs. UCLA - Pre-game thoughts


It's gonna be dominated by defense. There's just no two ways about. On the offensive end, it's essentially going to come down to how well UCLA shoots the ball. I'm not sure they're going to be able to get a lot done inside against Davis and Thomas, so it's going to be up to Farmar, Afflalo, and Ced to get some scoring done on the outside. I'd love to see some plays set up for Michael Roll as well to extend that defense.

On the other end, I'm not sure how the Bruins are going to stop both Thomas and Davis. Fortunately, LSU doesn't shoot the ball particularly well from the perimeter, so UCLA is less likely to get burned on double teams in the post. However, if they double down on Davis, Thomas might just kill the Bruins on the offensive glass. Davis might be better off chucking the ball at the hoop as opposed to throwing it out to the perimeter. I would imagine they'd try to stick LRMAM on Thomas, and hopefully's with Luc's excellent nose for rebounding, he can keep Thomas at bay.

I like the Bruins to win this one because I think they're more complete and they're deeper, but there are still injury question marks with Hollins and Mata. I expect it to be ugly.

Crazy Weekend

There's really a couple of things I ought to be doing on this site this weekend. Chief among them would be a final four preview and some sort of season preview for the Angels. Fact of the matter is, I'm swamped. It's Saturday, and I'm typing this from the office. On top of that, my mother is flying in tomorrow, so between the action tonight, I need to kind of clean my apartment. Anyway, I'll take an abbreviated shot at some point.

Friday, March 31, 2006


Posting has been infrequent lately, but rather than come up with something stupid that is just going to bore everyone, In honor of the final four this weekend, please watch two of the greatest comebacks in college history. You'll thank me.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Liveblogging my fantasy draft

That's right. Imagine the excitement of reading about all of the exciting......things going on my fantasy draft. I can tell you're as excited about this as I am.

Actually, truth be told, this is one of the leagues I most likely won't give a shit about. I'm in four, I think, and there's only one that truly matters. I drafted what I think is a very strong team in that draft. It's with a group of people I've never met, save for one guy who was my Political Science T.A. my first year in college, and with whom I've kept in touch over the years. I took over a team four seasons ago, five seasons ago, and in that time I've improved every season, going from a .415 winning percentage my first year (it's head to head) to a .620 winning percentage and a first place finish in the division last year before losing in the championship round. Also, I think I had a pretty decent draft in the Halosphere fantasy league draft as well, so I'll probably pay attention to that one.

Anyway, this particular league is a NL only league, head to head for the first time this season. It's all guys that I went to law school with, and we've kept the league together for seven or eight seasons now. I don't really follow the NL, so I'll probably get worked. I have won this league once in the past, however. I have the fourth pick, and we're about 10 minutes away. You're going nuts with excitement, aren't you? It's all so.....exciting!!

First round: In typical ESPN cobaggery, the software is failing. We're finally underway, with Pujols, Lee, and Wright going 1-2-3, followed my selection of Chase Utley with the #4 pick. Gotta pick a Bruin. Damn, talk about exciting!! Now we wait for the guys who didn't show up to be forced to Autopilot, which should speed up the process.

Nothing pisses me off more than dudes who take the whole time to make their picks, especially their first round pick. I mean seriously, you have a goddamn week to map it out. It's not that hard. Total ratfuckery.

Second round: I take Adam Dunn. I have him on another team. My draft philosophy is that I like to take guys I have on another team, so that I have to follow fewer guys during the season. Usually by April 15th I can't remember who's on which team anyway.

Third round: Brad Lidge. I get shut out of closers every year, so I figured I'd start the run this year.

Fourth round: Right now we have four of ten guys on auto, so the draft is moving quickly. Which is good, because these get to be really boring after a few minutes. Wait, did I say boring? I mean EXCITING!! Anyway, Larry Wayne Jones is officially a Cobag.

Fifth round: Former Angel Derek Turnbow. That's two closers, and that should hold me over in the save department, unless he gets busted for roids.

Sixth round: Zach Duke. Needed a starter.

Seventh round: Brett Myers. Another good but not great starter, although he's in a hitters' park. Oh well.

Eighth round: Things are moving fairly quickly. That's eight rounds in roughly a half hour. Still, I'm probably going to miss the last purple line. Willy Taverez is the newest Cobag. Needed the steals.

Ninth round: Austin Kearns. Got him on more than one team.

Tenth Round: Mike Jacobs. Marlins. Never heard of him.

Alright, this boring. For all of us. I'm sorry, this was an idea destined to fail. Anyway, here's how the rest of it went. Bill Hall, Tony Clark, Tom Glavine, Paul LoDuca, Chris Burke, Aaron Heilman, JJ Hardy, Johnny Estrada, Ryan Klesko, man the NL really sucks, Stephen Drew (it's a keeper league), Yhency Brazoban, Orlando Hernandez, Tony Armas Jr., and finally, Ryan Langerhans.

That's it. Time to start losing.

Monday, March 27, 2006


I don't do political stuff here very often, but this is the closest I've ever come to being linked to by a widely read lefty blog. I'm like, only a couple degrees of separation from Atrios!

Anyway, John Cole, who I like 80% of the time, went off his nut about this post by Jane Hamsher (who is a big Spiritualized fan, btw). In it, he accused the "Jane Hamshers of the left" of all sorts of nasty things. Problem is, the things he listed were never actually done by Jane Hamsher, after which John claimed that "the Jane Hamshers of the left" does not include the actual Jane Hamsher. He also implied that Jane had attributed comments to a person who had never actually said them (it's about Washington Post blogger/serial plagiarizer Ben Domenech). Only, Jane never said he said them.

Long story short, Jane got pissed, John refused to admit that he was wrong, and we all had a whale of a time in the comment thread. Jane's post on the dustup included a link to my comment where I called John intellectually dishonest. My comments include links to this blog. The Atrios linked to Jane's post. So like it goes Atrios --> Firedoglake --> My comment on John Cole's site --> Here! That's only four degrees of separation (or is it three, I can't tell?)

So that's my excitement for the day.

I try to provide my own take on the situation here, here, here, here, here, here and here. I get some nice ego strokes here, here, here, and here. Also, I'd be remiss if I didn't give credit to the gang at Three Bulls for the term "cobaggery" and to Demogenes Aristophanes for the term ratfuckery.