BADASS AMBASSADORS

May 4th, 2015

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Tender Skittles — Dynastic UCLA Dance Team and Cheer Squad return 17 kickass girls, and replace 5 departees with 6 new spirited beauties

Well, it appears that the UCLA Spirit Squad Selection Committee operates just fine without me.  For the last two years, I was honored to be a member of the Judges’ Panel for the prestigious UCLA Cheerleader Auditions, and was thoroughly proud of the results that we brought forth.  Unfortunately, this year I was not part of the process, but that didn’t hinder the Committee from hitting another home run with their selections.

I was in attendance for both the Cheer and Dance sessions, and I can assure you that the process has yielded the finest, smartest, prettiest, most talented groups of student-cheerleaders as you will find anywhere in the Nation.  All 17 veterans who tried out deservedly survived the day, and the 6 new additions definitely passed the eye test as well.  There were plenty of excellent performers who didn’t quite make the cut — hopefully they will come back next year for another chance.

With 6 new girls, of course I fell in love 6 times — because they are now part of the iconic Bruin Spirit Squad — including 1 with whom it was love at first site, and I am SO glad she made it onto the team.  Don’t ask me which one, because I will never tell.  You’ll just have to wonder as you view the pics.  But they are all super-hot, so it really could have been any of them.  I’m sure each one of you will have a different new favorite.

Speaking of favorites, my all-time favorite Cheerleader Katie Read the rest of this entry »

ROSEN TUNDRA

April 26th, 2015

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Whole Lotta Rosen — Everything’s coming up Rosen at UCLA, as True Freshman Phenom QB Josh Rosen makes a successful Rose(n) Bowl debut in UCLA’s Spring Showcase

Saturday morning marked the first day of the Post-Hundley Era for UCLA Football, and it just may be a smooth transition to another era marked by a Superstar signal caller.  True Freshman Quarterback Josh Rosen impressed Coaches and fans alike, with his talent, and poise uncommon for a newbie.

Rosen was actually the third Quarterback to take the reins of the Bruin Offense on Saturday, AFTER Jerry Neuheisel and Asiantii Woulard, but Rosen is the one getting all the buzz.  Neuheisel looked just fine in his time, and Woulard looked sharp as well, much improved from earlier reports.  But when Rosen took over, the Offense seemed to be more crisp, with Rosen showing uncanny composure and knowledge of the Offense.  His calm confidence bodes well for his potential leadership role on this team.

It seemed like Woulard has grasped the Offensive schemes as well, Read the rest of this entry »

REAPING WITH THE ENEMY

April 17th, 2015

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Don’t Fear the Reapers — It’s not too late to make a donation to Swim With Mike — Tragically-injured young athletes deserve to be REAPING the benefits of Bruins and Trojans (and everyone else) coming together for a good cause

The big event was last Saturday, but the great need continues, so please go to swimwithmike.org and consider donating to help supply scholarships for deserving victims of severe accidents and other catastrophic situations.  In order to inspire you, here are 40 more photos of the USC Song Girls in action, all to Read the rest of this entry »

DIVE-URGENT

April 14th, 2015

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Submergin’, not Insurgent — It may seem like a sign of a post-apocalyptic dystopia when I applaud a group of Trojans, but when the USC Song Girls dive in to such an urgent cause, they get my respect

As my temporary moratorium on anti-trojan rhetoric continues, here are 59 more photos of Trojan cheerleaders in and around the pool, raising about a million dollars for the Swim With Mike Charity, which provides scholarships for college athletes who suffer catastrophic injuries like limb amputation, or spinal cord damage that leaves them paralyzed.  Please enjoy these photos, and consider donating to this worthy cause, at swimwithmike.org. Read the rest of this entry »

THE SPLASHED AND THE SERIOUS (HEAVEN)

April 12th, 2015

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Reckless Diving, to Drive Up Rev-enue — The USC Song Girls join the race to help catastrophically-injured young athletes, by jumping into the pool for the innertube relay, at the 35th Annual Swim With Mike Fundraiser

I have a ton of new “followers” for this web site this year, thanks to its Facebook page, so a little explanation is in order, before I go any further with this article —

Every year at this time (for the last approximately 9 years), I bury the Rivalry Hatchet, and pay due respect to USC and especially to their Song Girls, for having the class — and willingness — to consent to don bikinis and participate in a relay race in the swimming pool, to raise money for the worthy cause known as “Swim with Mike.”

I only post flattering photos, and will not publish or tolerate any negative comments that would dissuade these girls from continuing their admirable efforts to contribute to this fundraising endeavor.  As you will see from the photos that I am posting now and the many more that I will continue to post throughout this week, the Song Girls, Dance Force, and other Trojan Cheerleaders consist of many beautiful girls… who are beautiful in spirit too, and that’s why they agree to take part in this event.

I highly recommend that you take a moment to visit swimwithmike.org, and look into donating some funds.  This organization’s mission is to provide scholarships for college athletes who are struck by major injuries like paralysis and amputation, but who somehow maintain their desire and drive to get their undergraduate and graduate degrees, and continue to make a positive difference for society.  By the way, the scholarships are NOT all for USC — They help send kids to many different schools, including UCLA.

I also encourage you to attend a Swim With Mike event some time.  The ones at USC always consist of a high diving show, a belly flop contest (which includes a Song Girl diving into the pool in full iconic uniform), a silent auction, a barbecue, and of course, the innertube relay race, where Trojan football players push Song Girls (and vice versa this year) the length of the pool.  It’s a Read the rest of this entry »

CINDERELLA FROZEN OUT

March 27th, 2015

11th Seed UCLA goes ice cold, missing all 8 of their three-pointers until the final 3 minutes (when they were already down by 17), with Bryce Alford going 1-for-8 from the floor before that final 3 minutes, as a 12-0 second half run gives Gonzaga control, and the 74-62 win, and entrance into the Elite 8

UCLA has made at least one three-pointer in every game since February, 2000, a streak of 521 games.  But for the first 37 minutes of their Sweet Sixteen contest against Gonzaga on Friday night, they didn’t hit any.  Despite their frigid shooting, the Bruins were still within 1 point of 2-seed Gonzaga, early in the second half, after UCLA scored the first 6 points after Intermission.  But then, Zags’ Coach Mark Few called a time out, and the Bulldogs responded with 12 straight points, holding the Bruins scoreless for 5 minutes.

The Bruins never recovered from this drought, and Gonzaga cruised to a 74-62 victory, advancing them to the Elite Eight.  Blame it on the dome environment, Tournament nerves, or even decent defense by Gonzaga, but whatever it was, no Bruin could shoot straight in Houston.  Norman Powell, playing in his final game in Bruin Blue, carried his team early, Read the rest of this entry »

INSIDE THE PARKER

March 21st, 2015

wash15bb225tpTony Parker parks the Bruins in the Sweet 16 — Tony touches ’em all, with a career-high 28 Points, plus 12 Rebounds and 3 Blocks, as UCLA scores 50 Points in the Paint to whip UAB 92-75, and to prove once again the Bruins are better when they go inside

Sure Bryce Alford can stroke it from outside.  And on occasion, so can Norman Powell, Isaac Hamilton, and even Kevon Looney and Gyorgy Goloman. But UCLA is clearly at its best when they pound the ball inside as a first priority, and dominate the paint.  And that’s exactly the strategy Coach Steve Alford dialed up against the UAB Blazers, and it worked perfectly.

Tony Parker was coming off a horrendous game against SMU, so Alford wanted to get him going today, So Bryce Alford and company kept feeding the beast, to the tune of NINETEEN first half points for Parker.  The Bruins slowly worked the margin up, despite a plethora of made three-pointers by the Blazers, which were allowed by slow close-outs by the Bruins on Defense.  But the UCLA Offense was clicking, with Parker on the inside, Alford on the outside, Looney (and Thomas Welsh) on the Offensive Boards, and Hamilton driving to the hoop.

The Bruins built a Read the rest of this entry »

(GOAL)TENDER MERCIES

March 19th, 2015

Bryce’s Brick Burns Brown’s Boys — After carrying the team with a barrage of made three-pointers, Bryce Alford heaves up a near-airball on UCLA’s final possession, when an SMU player touches it for a 3-point Goaltending call giving the Bruins a 1-point lead; Mustang fans and their Coach Larry Brown will complain, but Kevon Looney had the rebound for an easy game-tying putback (if no Goaltending call had been made), plus, SMU missed two open shots in the final seconds to cement the loss

Two things are always certain in March Madness:  Upsets and controversy.  On Thursday, the UCLA/SMU game supplied both.  The 11th  seeded (and 3-point underdog) Bruins upended the 6th-seeded Mustangs 60-59, on a Goaltending call that will be debated for a long time.  Of course, one play — or one call — does not cause a team to lose.  Rather, it is a whole 40-minute game that determines who will come out on top.

The Bruins controlled the contest for most of the game, behind the Offense of Norman Powell and the hot three-point shooting of Bryce Alford.  While Tony Parker struggled inside on Offense, the Bruins had to rely on Alford, who made 9 of 11 three’s on his way to 27 points.  The Bruins led by 4 at the half 34-30, and built the margin up to 10 after the intermission, holding SMU to 1-of-12 shooting to start out the second half.  But then the Bruins went into a serious funk, getting outscored NINETEEN-TO-ZERO, as SMU made 7 straight shots.  The remarkable spurt had the Mustangs up by 9, with 4:30 to go in the game, and things looked bleak for UCLA.  But the Bruins did not quit.  Powell scored on a driving lay-up to break the streak, then Alford hit two more three’s to cut the deficit to 3.  With 1:28 left, after an SMU bucket, with the Bruins down by 5, Powell dribbled the ball off his foot, leading to a breakaway for the Mustangs.  So, the Bruins were down by 7 with 85 seconds left.  Talk about “bleak!!”

But Alford came back with yet another three, Thomas Welsh blocked a shot, and then Powell got fouled.  Norman calmly swished both Free Throws (giving him 19 points for the game), and then, with 26 seconds left, SMU committed an unforced Turnover, setting up the controversial play.  Steve Alford called the Bruins’ “Quick Play,” but the Defense stopped it, so Bryce went around a screen and hurled up a horrible prayer over a double-team and a long, outstretched arm.  The ball had NO CHANCE of going in the hoop.  AT BEST, it had a slight chance of grazing the outside of the right side of the rim.  But before it got a chance to hit or miss the rim, an SMU player tipped the ball, drawing a CORRECT Goaltending call.  The awarded three points put the Bruins in the lead at 60-59, with 13 seconds left.

People are going to go ballistic over this crucial call, because Read the rest of this entry »

DANCE LIKE NO ONE WAS WATCHING

March 15th, 2015

Depsite a questionable résumé, a lack of signature wins, and a bevy of pundits predicting exclusion, UCLA gets invited to The Big Dance as an 11th Seed, and will play Larry Brown’s SMU in Louisville on Thursday, thanks to the Bruins’ steady improvement throughout the season, ultra-competitive game against Arizona, and possibly the glamour factor of being the one and only “UCLA”

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The so-called experts said it wasn’t in the cards this year.  Many UCLA fans felt like the Bruins were deservedly NIT-bound.  Even the ESPN bracket guru said UCLA doesn’t belong.  But the Selection Committee ignored all that nonsense, and rightfully returned UCLA to the NCAA Tournament for the third year in a row, and 4th out of 5.

UCLA made it in to the South Region as an 11 Seed, and will face the 6-seed SMU Mustangs, who are coached by former Bruin coach Larry Brown.  The Mustangs are making their first March Madness appearance in 22 years, and have only faced the Bruins twice before, losing both times, the last time in 1976.

SMU’s star player is a 5’9″ Point Guard who won their Conference Player of the Year Award, and that edge at Point Guard is one reason the ‘Stangs are starting as a 3-point favorite in the game.  SMU is 27-6 on the year, but is hardly invincible — Against Western Programs that Bruin fans are somewhat familiar with, SMU had to go to overtime to beat UC Santa Barbara, and got pounded by Gonzaga in a 16-point loss.

So the Bruins are in a terrific position — Read the rest of this entry »

GIMME HAM ON FIVE AND HOLD THE MAYO’S

March 12th, 2015

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Ham Slams the Shams — Isaac Hamilton has a career day with 36 points including 7 three-pointers, as UCLA destroys troy 96-70, making it SIX straight (NINE straight including Football) over a school whose only recent Basketball headline was a claim to shame, when O.J “Pay-o to Play-o” Mayo was caught holding the ($$$) bag

WHAM, BAM, THANK YOU HAM!!!

Send out the clowns!!!  U$C’s Basketball season is over, mercifully for all twelve of their die-hard fans, as UCLA has dispatched them from the Pac-12 Tourney with a decisive 96-70 beatdown.  That’s a 3-and-oh SWEEP against the crosstown rivals, by an average of 18 points per game.  So ends the second straight disastrous season for the trojans and their head coach Andy Enfield, who famously declared, in a not-so-thinly veiled slam at UCLA, that if you want to play fast, come to usc.  I guess he left out:  “But if you want to tattoo 96 points on your arch rival and win by 26, go to UCLA.”

UCLA will now face Arizona on Friday night, in a game where they would be underdogs even at full strength, but HUGE underdogs if forced to play without Freshman phenom Kevon Looney, who took an elbow to the face in the first half Thursday, and did not return to action.

With Looney on the bench, and with Bruin leader Norman Powell in foul trouble, you would think that the trojans, who had just beaten ASU with a 21-4 finishing flurry, would have an excellent chance of competing with UCLA, especially after establishing an early 13-10 lead.  But Isaac Hamilton took care of that.  The Bruins used a 14-0 spurt and soon thereafter a 9-0 spurt to take command of the game, as Read the rest of this entry »

TROJAN-8-ERS CLUB

March 5th, 2015


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We’ve got ’em behind the 8-ball — Bruins Beat$C handily 85-74 behind huge nights from Tony Parker and Bryce Alford, making it EIGHT STRAIGHT beatings of the trojans in the two major sports

Eight is not enough… but it’s a damn good start!  With Wednesday night’s 85-74 beatdown of troy in Basketball, UCLA has now beaten sc 5 straight times on the Hardwood — by an average of about 16 points a game — and 9 times out of 10.  And if you add those 5 straight to the 3 straight in Football — also all by comfortable margins — that’s 8 straight triumphs over that Clown College across town in the two big revenue-producing sports.

Two years ago, UCLA and u$c each got new Basketball Head Coaches, and the trojans actually procured the much splashier hire, snatching Andy Enfield fresh off a miracle Final Four appearance with a small, unheard of school.  Enfield immediately shot his mouth off in the Press, telling recruits if they want to play exciting ball, to come to u$c instead of UCLA.  Well, after two seasons, Enfield is 0-4 against Steve Alford and UCLA.  Not only that, but last night’s whipping stuffed the trojans into LAST PLACE in the Pac-12.  It also clinched 4th place for UCLA, which earns them a first-round bye in the Pac-12 Tournament.

The game at Pauley Pavilion on Wednesday night was actually a lot closer than expected.  You have to give lowly sc a lot of credit for fighting back from an early 18-point first half deficit.  The trojans had the margin at only 8 with less than 8 minutes to go in the game, before the Bruins expanded the lead to 16, to win handily.

The last few games it’s been Senior Norman Powell leading the way for the Bruins, but last night, on Senior Night, Read the rest of this entry »

TREASURE, I LAND (AND IT’S NOT A MIRAGE)

March 1st, 2015

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ARELI BIG SHOW — 11 days before their Vegas trip, UCLA Spirit hits the jackpot with a lavish party emceed by Areli, that strikes gold for the squad… and for me, as I win a raffle for a Basketball autographed by Steve Alford and the 2015 Basketball team, plus 4 Bruin shirts

I’ve heard of “losing your shirt” in Vegas, but how about winning 4 shirts?  What a night in Westwood!  On this night, the dress is Blue and Gold, but if you look hard, you’ll see green (not gold & white or black & blue).

The annual UCLA Spirit Squad All-Access Reception fundraiser was held in Pauley Pavilion on Saturday evening, and as always when Mollie is involved, it was a complete success.  Not only was it fun for all, but most importantly, it was lucrative for the Squad.  Funds raised at this event will go to travel, uniforms, and staff salaries, all necessities in the effort to remain the World’s Elite Cheerleaders.

The reception featured a Silent Auction and an Opportunity Drawing, with prizes that included a Football autographed by Coach Jim Mora, to tickets to a Bruin Basketball game, to a Hello Kitty Prize Package, to ride-alongs with Firemen or Sheriffs, to a Basketball signed by the 2015 Bruins (which I won!), to Babysitting by the Cheerleaders.  I would have put ALL my raffle tickets in the babysitting jar, if only I had a baby.

Even if attendees weren’t interested in winning prizes (?!), there were lots of other things to do — like enjoying the free and free-flowing alcohol, which included Vodka Lemonade and Vodka Cranberry.  I had one of each and Read the rest of this entry »