Thursday, March 30, 2006

back in business

Ucla is going back to the final four. Our storied basketball program is back in business and returns to its familiar place among the hoops elite. Like enjoying a good wine, I needed to savor the memories of defense and clutch plays before penning my ode to this tournament run.

When the brackets were annouced and Ucla claimed a number 2 seed I knew we would make it to the final four. Getting past Gonzaga was a real test of my faith but these kids came through. We unleashed a suffocating defense and Coach Howland managed the game to perfection.

Thanks to streaming video from march madness on demand, I replayed the clutch Hollins free throws and the ensuing steal to find some great coaching nuggets. After the free throws, Hollins was quickly subbed out for a quicker Collison. Collison's responsibility was to cover deep which freed Mbah a Moute to cover the player inbounding the ball and allowed Bozeman to switch over to Batista. The ball was inbounded to Morrison who made a great pass to Batista. Batista was quickly swarmed by Farmar and Bozeman was able to knock the ball loose. Howland was in the game the entire time..perhaps it was coincidence that the play turned out the way it did, or maybe it's just because the guy can flat out coach.

It's so great to see the maturation of the players and the team's level of playthis past season. Ryan Hollins just became a millionaire by his play in this tournament alone. It's great to watch and I'm looking forward to this weekend's game.

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