WESTWOOD —Last week in the Pac-10 tournament, the Men’s basketball team put forth a valiant effort to keep their season going a couple more weeks, but unfortunately reality caught up with them.
Led by Senior Michael Roll, the Bruins were able to take a 3 point lead at halftime over the Golden Bears from Berkeley. For Roll, the basketball seemed to be 10 feet wide and there was no shot he couldn’t make. Jerome Randle, Cal’s star point guard, was hanging out on the other end of the spectrum. Coming off a game where he was torching the Oregon Ducks with NBA range three point baskets, Randle could not buy a bucket in the first half. The inspired Bruin defense kept him and his fellow stars, Patrick Christopher and Theo Robertson, at bay for most the initial half, but a three-pointer by Randle at the end of the half to bring the Golden Bears within three points of the Bruins was just a sample of what was to come.
During the second half, the dormant Cal offense found their stroke and they wasted no time using it to take the lead away from the Bruins early in the second half. Robertson scored 15 of his 20 points in the second half, while Pac-10 player of the year candidate Jerome Randle notched 18 of 24 points. Christopher added 16 points to help bring the end to a disappointing season for the UCLA Bruins. Micheal Roll went down swinging in his final game as a Bruins, finishing with 27 points, but his stellar play all year was not enough to keep the team from going 14-18, Howland’s worst season since taking the job in Westwood in 2004.
The good news for UCLA basketball fans is that a lot of the young players on the team, such as Reeve Nelson and Tyler Honeycutt, were able to get valuable experience throughout the season. Coupled with the elite recruiting class that Howland has coming in for next season, the future looks pretty promising for the Bruins.
Now for those Bruin fans that still want to fill their free time with college basketball, there is still the NCAA tournament to watch. I know it’s the blue and gold, and no there will not be any UCLA fight song playing all game long, but it’s a pretty good alternative. This year the most talked about teams entering the tournament are of course number one ranked Kansas and number two ranked Kentucky. Everyone would love to see a matchup between veteran point guard Sharon Collins and freshman phenom John Wall, but it will take a few games for that to come to past.
Cinderella stories are always the prime topic when it comes to March Madness. Everyone wants to see one of those low seeded teams make that magical run to end of the bracket and take down all those basketball powerhouses. If there is anything lacking in this year’s tournament, it’s the Cinderella story. Right now the biggest upset projected is San Diego State over Tennessee, but most people would not see it as much of an upset. The Volunteers have been on a roller coaster all year and you could flip a coin to try and determine which Tennessee team will show up. The one that beat Kentucky or the one that got blown out by USC.
March is always a great time for basketball and bracket watching. Unfortunately I am not able to participate in the annual ritual of bracket picking, but like all those other college