Licensed-to-Kill Kevin Love triggers Record-setting 70-29 Bruin Win (while usc doesn’t live to Die Another Day), but U(CLA) Only Live Twice if you overlook Texas A&M
Tomorrow Never Dies… unless you’re usc. Fans in Omaha had A View To A Kill yesterday, as a humiliating 13-Point Upset Loss to ELEVENTH-SEEDED Kansas State may have just murdered the wannabe trOJan Basketball Program. The 80-67 beatdown was, BY FAR, the biggest Upset of the day’s entire 16-game schedule, as sc was Seeded 6th (because people are fooled by highlight reels). If you think Tim Floyd was whining about the match-up BEFORE the game, can you imagine what he’s thinking NOW? He said that the 3rd-Place team from the Big 12 should not have been Seeded 11th, and that they shouldn’t get to play so close to Home.
Tim’s whines were vintage, but now they are just sour grapes. The Wildcats lost thier best player – Freshman phenom Michael Beasley – with 2 Fouls in less than 5 minutes, but sc could not capitalize. Not only that, but the 2nd Foul was a Phantom Foul, as Daniel Hackett flopped his head back and got the call. Coincidentally, Hackett soon thereafter elbowed a Wildcat in the mouth, knocking out his mouthpiece and apparently drawing blood.
Beasley picked up his 3rd foul on the first play of the 2nd Half, but with sc trying to be physical instead of talented, they too got in foul trouble, that equalized and then surpassed KSU’s foul trouble. All 3 of sc’s big men flailed away and got in serious foul trouble, and between that and the struggles of O.J. Mayo, the trojans were doomed, and KSU was on track to win their first March Madness game in 20 years.
During the 1st Half while Beasley was worthless (due to the fouls), Mayo didn’t do ANYTHING, due to jitters, or maybe lack of heart. The whole team was, according to their postgame interviews, lackadaisical, and didn’t want it as much as KSU did. A 17-Rebound margin and 21 Offensive Boards for KSU were the most obvious evidence of that. And ironically, the Wildcats were carried in the 1st Half by 17 Points from Bill Walker, who just happens to be O.J. Mayo’s special friend, former bunkmate, and longtime companion.
Walker was solid outside and inside, and the KSU role players – mostly Freshmen who were completely overlooked by Reporters writing capsule previews – stepped up nicely. The Wildcats were up by 10 at Intermission, but the trojans stormed back to take a 1-Point lead behind Mayo, who finally made a few shots during his 6-for-16 night, that ESPN claimed made him look not ready for the Pro’s. But KSU responded, as Beasley also found his rhythm – from outside and inside – and ended up with an impressive 23 Points and 11 Rebounds. The Wildcats got the lead back up to double-digits, and cruised to the victory. There is no doubt that Beasley could play WELL in the NBA next season, and he is fully expected to leave KSU.
And apparently, O.J. told the World that he is indeed bolting South Central for the NBA now too, by wearing NBA socks during the game. We on the other hand, think that it is a tease. We think that he is completely ready for the jump, but will stay at sc anyway, because they did so badly in the Big Dance.
Mayo wanted to “Carmelo-ize” sc, by taking them to the NCAA Title in his only year at the school. But instead, the trojans were carmelized, like the top of a Creme Brulee, and would be severely devoured next season if O.J. and any of their other players leave now. So we bet that he stays, trying one more time to do the impossible: Put usc on the map in Basketball. Instead, since he lacks the heart and will of Kevin Love, the Program will continue to die a slow death, which started yesterday, all the while flying UNDER the radar. It is apparent from yesterday’s LACK of effort that Tim Floyd will never be able to recruit the right kind of Character-laden kids, or motivate them to play big when everything is on the line. After all, what part of “Do-or-Die” did he fail to impress on O.J. and his not-so-merry band of thugs? How can you be that UN-fired up in a tough Tourney Game? The Bruins could go down on Saturday, to a tough Texas A&M team, but it will NOT be due to a lack of effort.
The Aggies took the Bruins to the limit last year, and left them all battered and bruised from a full-contact game. There would be no shame in losing to this squad, although every Bruin fan on the Planet would consider the Season a NON-success if that were to happen. Of course, if it makes Kevin Love come back for his Sophomore year, at least it will have had some small positive ramification.
If it sounds like we’re trying to soften the blow of a potentially-devastating 2nd-Round loss, you’re right. But it would be easy to be complacent after watching the Bruins completely destroy the Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils.
Not since the shot-clock was instituted has a team been held to 29 Points in a early-round Tourney game. The record was 32, but the smothering Bruin Defense rewrote it. The Bruins challenged almost every shot, as they immediately opened up a huge lead against the overmatched Devils. The Bruins were up by 25 before most people’s Pizzas were delivered. KLove hit three 3’s and was unstoppable underneath. He had 18 of the Bruins’ 40 Points at Halftime, to the Delta Devils’ 16. Did you get that? Kevin outscored their whole team for the entire 1st Half. What more do you need to know? That Luc Richard Mbah a Moute didn’t even play? Apparently he was available, and Ben Howland told the media that he would start, but James Keefe started instead, and Luc never played. Apparently, Howland took MSVU seriously, and didn’t mind if they prepared for a Luc-intensive Offense. Usually, that means forcing the ball to him and making HIM shoot or try to dribble.
But with Keefe in the game, the Bruins looked like there was no Defense out there. Keefe played well, on both ends of the court, but against this type of competition, that doesn’t mean a hell of a lot. It DOES mean, however, that his confidence is growing, and if it continues to do so, he could be a factor on Saturday. Nikola Dragovic hit some outside shots, and looked fairly good doing it, but again, the pressure was already off.
KLove, Lorenzo Mata-Real and Alfred Aboya denied all Delta Devil attempts to penetrate, as the Bruins blocked a record-tying 13 shots and held MSVU to 19% shooting. They also closed out well on perimeter shooters, and rotated smartly all game. Even though the second string played most of the 2nd Half, the Bruins still held MSVU to 13 Points after the break.
After the game, a female reporter named Jill (Painter, form the Daily News, probably), asked Kevin Love a question that exhibits why old-timers don’t like female reporters: She wanted to know if Kevin and his teammates “felt sorry” for MVSU. Sorry Josephine Bruin, but only a girl would ask a “gay” question like that at that time. Kevin put her in her place, saying “NO MERCY!!” He didn’t want to show her up, but he MUST have been rolling his eyes ON THE INSIDE. Of course they didn’t feel sorry for the opposition. What next? Will she write US and ask us if we feel sorry for the trOJans? Well, if you look at the comments following yesterday’s article, someome already beat her to it.
We loved Love’s “No Mercy” line, as did CBS Sportscaster (and Bruin) Steve Hartman, who evoked John Wooden’s “be the best you can be” mantra, saying that you never worry about the opponent, or, DUH, their FEELINGS. However, James Worthy begged to differ. The ex-Laker great “Big Game James” thought that the comments were too “FLIP.” He thought that the Bruins were acting too cocky, especially after beating a 16 Seed, and he warned them about Texas A&M. We don’t think Love was being cocky — he was just teaching Jill “Basketball 101,” and “What It Means To Be A Man 102,” not that he should HAVE to be wasting his time on such nonsense. Of course, we think that the Conference Tournaments are a waste of time, as are all the games against 16 Seeds. The Tourney should have never expanded to 64 teams because the 16’s NEVER win, and never will. And who the f needs a “play-in” game?
But wait — There are some Bruins out there that almost won as a 15… against Duke. The Belmont Bruins, who UCLA killed in the ’06 Dance, took Duke right down to the wire yesterday. Belmont even had the lead with 13 seconds left, but then Gerald Henderson went coast-to-coast to get it back. The Bruins blew an out-of-bounds play where it looked like a player missed his route and would have had a game-winning slam dunk, but they got the ball back for one last chance. The 45-footer fell short, and so did Belmont. Duke escpaed, but the UCLA Bruins certainly don’t have to worry about “looking ahead” to an eventual meeting with their Region’s #2 Seed. Texas A&M, and Connecticut possibly, as of right now, look to be tougher match-ups.
But no matter what happens, there is an undisputed winner in the Kevin Love- O.J. Mayo College Rivalry, with Kevin being 007, and Mayo being Blo-feld.