Smokin’ Blue Devils weed out wasted Golden Bears: Cal — UCLA’s Pac-10 buds — can’t light it up, coughing up two 4:20 breaks without hitting any J’s, and get blitzed by #1 Seed Duke, 68-53
Stoned-cold California’s pipe dream is toast. Even with a spark from former Blue Devil Jamal Boykin, Cal couldn’t bowl over anyone in the joint. And late in the 1st Half, with Cal still wafting closely by, their shooting touch went into rehab. It was about 4:20 between connections for Cal, while Duke used their inside utensils to build a 15-point lead, from which the Bears never fully recovered.
The deficit was 13 at the Half, but the Bears didn’t quit. Their comeback stemmed from their Defense, which suddenly expanded, and held Duke without a Field Goal for about 4:20. But Cal’s Offense could scrounge up only enough to cut the lead to 7. Then Duke’s Defense stiffened again, and held Cal without a bucket for about, you guessed it, 4:20.
By that time, the game was over for all intents and purposes, Boykin’s impressive double-double wasted. Too bad that Cal’s Three Amigos — Randle, Robertson, and Christopher — EACH had a bad shooting day, because the next opponent is #4 Purdue, who barely beat Texas A&M at the buzzer, and who is still missing their Star Center. Despite making it to the Sweet 16, Purdue is not an intimidating foe, and Cal could have then had Baylor or St. Mary’s to reach the Final Four. Instead, Duke will get to take advantage of the weakest bracket, especially with #2 Villanova already out.
For you Bracket Boys and Girls — The Sweet Sixteen is set, and exactly HALF of its teams were not supposed to be there. If everything went by design, you would have the 1, 2, 3, and 4-seeds from each region still alive, but instead, this is what has survived: 1, 2, 5, 6; 1, 2, 11, 12; 1, 3, 4, 10; and 2, 5, 6, 9.
The “1” that is missing is Kansas, and the 2 is Villanova; Three 3’s are prematurely dead, as are three 4’s. The 9 is Northern Iowa, who nipped Kansas. The 10 is St. Mary’s, the 11 is Washington — The Pac-10’s Final Hope — and the 12 is the most Cinderella-y of all the Cinderellas, Cornell, from the Ivy League. Cornell killed Wisconsin, and now faces #1 Kentucky. That one should get some decent ratings, especially if Cornell is actually able to hang with them.
So with 8 unexpected entries in the Sweet 16, if you still have a bracket with your Final Four unscathed, you are probably leading your office pool.
On the Women’s side, UCLA posted an impressive, come-from-behind, 20-point win over NC State in the 1st Round. The Bruins looked great, and Head Coach Nikki Caldwell looked like a supermodel, but I refuse to get excited about their prospects. Forget that Stanford and undefeated UConn lurk somewhere out there — the Bruins NEXT game is against 31-1 Nebraska. Ouch. If the Bruins somehow manage to pull off the upset, then I would be a litlle more excited.
Finally, in what is probably an effort-gone-wrong to honor a trojan, a Race Horse ran today at Santa Anita, with the name “S C Song Girl.” But maybe it’s not a tribute — Maybe it’s actually an editorial on the current, challenged state of the Song Girls? “S C Song Girl” lost the race (by more than a nose), finishing behind “Hard Way Ten” and on top of “Triple Cream.” And no, her jockey was not wearing a skirt and sandals, nor was he carrying a sword instead of a whip. Maybe if they played “Conquest” on the loudspeakers, the horse would perform better?
[Thanks to “Rick” for the tip on the SC Pony].