Friday, March 09, 2007

The Afternoon After

In the cold dark following the cold light of what was this morning, I'm finally beginning to come to terms with last night's debacle against UC Berkeley. There's still no way to sugar coat it. It was a team failure at every level, including leadership. I guess you could give them credit for not giving up after being down by 16 in the first half, but when you're trying to find a positive for one of the best teams in the country, that's nearly the definition of damning with faint praise.

On the other hand, I'm the same guy that said just a few days ago that I wouldn't mind seeing them lose early in the PTT just so that they could get some rest. Still, even that's a faint silver lining in a very dark cloud. And I'm loathe to fall for the "loss is a wake up call" line of reasoning. Top teams shouldn't need a wake up call.

That said, the national media still believes in the Bruins, and it's hardly the time to give up on them. Most of the big names still believe that UCLA will be a number one seed, or at the very least, the #2 seed in the West (which, quite frankly would be much better than being the #1 seed anywhere else). The seed position doesn't bother me. Regardless of where you're seeded, you still need to run the gantlet to win the whole thing. But staying in the West would be a very nice reward for an excellent season, despite what we've seen in the last week.

I still can't seem to find an explanation for the way Arron Afflalo played yesterday. Like I said, I don't know if he was sick, or nursing an injury, or if there was some family issue that had him worried, because he certainly didn't play like he's played at any other point in his three year career. I'm not trying to bag on the guy, because I'm sure no one feels worse about it than he does, but geez, what an awful performance. And still, just one made free throw from any of the many culprits could have nullified all of that.

The only thing left is to continue to believe in this team. I honestly can't tell you whether they're the same team that left Pac 10 teams in its wake for the first 17 games of the conference season, or if they're the team we saw the last two times they took the floor. But I sure hope they're the former. What I'd like to see next week is the absolute destruction of whatever team the committee decides to feed to the Bruins. Take no prisoners, step on the gas, and do not stop. That's how they can show us that they're back and ready to make a run.

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