Sunday, February 10, 2008

UCLA 61; Washington 71

Two things are clear. First, this is not the same team without Luc Richard Mbah A Moute. Second, the Bruins will not be traipsing through the West on their way to a third straight final four.

Outplayed, outhustled, and yes, outcoached. Whatever Lorenzo Romar schemed for this game, Washington had players wide open under the basket all afternoon. And time after time they outnumbered the Bruins around the basket, which led to offensive rebound after offensive rebound and second chance point after second chance point. Ultimately, that was the difference in the game. As poorly as the Bruins executed, had they not been outhustled, they still could won this game.

It didn't help matters that the Bruins couldn't shoot. O for everything from beyond the arc. Darren Collison was clanking floaters as if he were new to the game. I'm not sure any of the three pointers that UCLA took actually got to the basket until the game was no longer in doubt. Literally, I think every three pointer they took was missed short. And every time they'd close the gap, they'd let up and the Huskies would separate again. Three point deficits became nine point deficits, and when they'd pull to three again, the Huskies would lengthen to eight.

This was not the Bruins team that most of us are used to seeing. They didn't do any of the things we're used to seeing them do. They were dominated on the glass, they rarely, if ever, ran their offense effectively, and they failed to play strong interior defense. That's a recipe for failure on the road in the Pac 10. And make no mistake, this loss is all on UCLA. Washington is not a good basketball team. They have one good player, and they've been torched at home recently. When you're number two and losing to a mediocre team, it's a loss. It's not a tough game that the other team pulled out. It's not a game where the opponent played a great game. It's a game where you failed to show up and do your job. That's why UCLA lost tonight.

Finally, when the ball was successfully inbounded with about 35 seconds to go, Alfred Aboya should have just hauled off and decked the piece of shit who through the ball off his face.

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