“Match Game” Fannie Flagg?  Great, but the Bruins got THEIR fannies flagged by Stanford… as “inconsistent.”

Attack of the Killer Turnovers:  Stanford “Bates” UCLA, then dramatically flicks them aside, as Jeremy Green’s Runaway Production reel-y comes in “Tandy” in making sure that the careless Bruins die in the end, 70-59

Sometimes, watching UCLA play is tougher than watching a “good date film.”  Bruin Basketball or a Chick Flick — I hate them both when they kill off the heroes in the end.

UCLA pretty much killed off themselves on Saturday, with TWENTY-THREE Turnovers, including 7 by Starting Point Guard Malcolm Lee, as they finally allowed Stanford to slip away, 70-59.  The game was closer than that — It was still just a two-possession game with 2 minutes to go — but the Bruins could not control the ball, or make clutch shots in the final moments, so Stanford was able to complete their Weekend Sweep.

Lee started in part because Jerime Anderson was afflicted with a touch of Strep Throat.  And don’t say: “That’s what often develops after constantly choking.”  Jerime was one of the Bruins’ better players on Saturday, once he came in off the bench.  On THIS day, the Bruins’ Offense seemed to run a little better with Anderson at the Point.  Lee is not driving as much as Anderson is, but he’s throwing the ball away a lot more, and his scoring is not compensating for it.  Lee was 0-4 from behind the arc, scoring only 11 Points.  I think that if Anderson gets healthy and returns to the Point full-time, Lee will be able to get back to better shooting, more penetrating,  and higher point totals.  Anderson’s Assist-to-Turnover ratio was 4-2, while Lee’s was 3-7.

The Turnovers kept UCLA from being able to go on a spurt, even though they shot 55%.  And that was mostly from outside, as Reeves Nelson was in foul trouble and he nor anyone else could get it going in the paint.  Luckily, James Keefe and Tyler Honeycutt each made a three-pointer, and Michael Roll and Nikola Dragovic made 2 three’s each.  Unluckily, Stanford’s Jeremy Geen hit FIVE three’s all by himself.  Green was on fire all night, scoring a career-high 30 and even banking in a 35-foot buzzer-beater that sent the Cardinal to the Intermission with a 34-33 lead.

His 17 1st Half Points picked up the slack for Stanford’s leading scorer Landry Fields, who started out 2-10, as once again a Howland opponent’s best offensive player is shut down.  But THIS time, that player AWOKE, and came on strong in the 2nd Half.  Fields ended with 16 and 7 Rebounds, as he and Green kept the Bruins at bay.

Stanford led most of the way, usually by less than 8.  UCLA took a brief lead before Green’s buzzer-beater, thanks to Drago and Roll scoring the Bruins’ final 15 points of the Half.  But in the end, they combined for only 25 points for the game, not nearly enough to compete with the Green-Fields Tandem.

Bruin fans would have been happy with a Bay Area split, BEFORE the Bruins beat Cal.  But AFTER beating the Bears, and knowing that the Bears destroyed Stanford last week, a Sweep was looking good… unless you pay attention to PATTERNS.

Losing the SECOND of their weekly Pac-10 games is nothing new to Howland’s Bruins.  This year, they have won both FIRST games, and lost both SECOND games.  Last year, 80% of their Pac-10 Losses came in the SECOND game of a pair (with only ONE not), the year before also only ONE Loss not on SHORT TURNAROUND, and the year before that, 100% of their Pac-10 Losses came in SECOND games of pairs again.

And there is very little mystery here.  The phenomenon can be expained by the fact that the more time Ben Howland has to PREPARE his team for a game, the better they do.  When Howland and his staff have all week to draw up a game plan, they usually devise a system that successfully puts the clamps on whomever Howland perceives as the opponent’s biggest Offensive threat, and the Bruin Offense usually seems more in sync, especially in terms of attacking the opposing Defense.  Before the Stanford game, Howland said that he FEARED Jeremy Green’s Offense, but apparently he only had time enough to think up a plan to stop Fields (and only for the 1st Half).

If only the Bruins could schedule all their Pac-10 games at least 4 days apart.  And even if they could, the format of the NCAA Tournament also forces games after only one day of rest.  But it isn’t the rest that is needed, it’s the “strategizing.”  Even though this pattern has been around even through the Howland “Glory Years,” it should at least soften up a bit as this current crop of players get more experienced, and more in tune with Howland Ball.  With more playing time and less being “green,” it will take slightly less time to fully implement Howland’s schemes.  At least sc isn’t usually scheduled on a short rest, although this year, even THAT may not help.  The trojans DID get beat by Cal, but they led by 7 with 9 minutes to go, and at that point, looked like a better team than Cal, and a much better team than UCLA.  They choked, giving some hope to Bruin fans for next week, but I would still advise you to hold all wagers.

Speaking of wagers, the NFL Playoffs started Saturday, and with no Pro Team in L.A. besides sc, it’s hard for Bruin fans to know who to root for, or against.  The desision was especially tough on Saturday, when Carson Palmer faced off with Mark Sanchez.  But Sanchez has only one other ex-trojan as a teammate, Chauncey Washington, who is not ever a factor, while Palmer enjoys the company of THREE other Fig Techsters, Rey Rey Maualuga, Frostee Rucker, and Keith Rivers.  And even though Rey’s on the Injured Reserve List, it would be a crime to see a guy like him (or like Frostee) get a Super Bowl Ring so soon.  Not only that, but if Sanchez does well, it just makes Pete Carroll look like more of a lying, self-serving ingrate, for disingenuously berating Sanchez about NOT being ready for the Pro’s.

So Bruin fans had to bite a small bullet and root for Sanchez to succeed… and he did.  Sanchez managed a great game, relying on his strong running game mostly, and not turning the ball over like Palmer did.  Carson “Cornhole” Palmer (it’s the game he sponsors) had a horrible game, overthrowing target after target all game long, throwing a Pick, and fumbling, as the Jets easily beat the Bengals, 24-14.  Cinci lost their last REAL hope, when their Field Goal Kicker missed a chip shot that would have cut it to 7 with 3 minutes left.  Sanchez might have out-battled Cornholio, but next up will be Peyton Manning, who yesterday picked up his unprecedented FOURTH Most Valuable Player Award, or Phillip Rivers, the hottest QB in the League.

The other Saturday game was a little easier for Bruins to pick:  The Eagles have two ex-trojans:  Mike Patterson, a Defensive Lineman who plays a lot and is usually in the thick of the action, and Winston Justice, who has been the major reason why Donovan McNabb limps like a 90-year-old man.  Justice, the pellet-gun toting, whore-mongerer is supposed to protect McNabb, but is more interested in stealing Donovan’s Chunky Soup.  But rather than relying on him to screw up on larger and larger stages, I rather his plug be pulled, so he doesn’t recover a McNabb fumble in the end zone to become a Super Bowl Legend.  But the Eagles’ opponent also has a trojan.  The Cowboys roster includes Kicker David Buehler.  However, the Box Score does NOT include Buehler.  Buehler?  Buehler?  He didn’t kick their Field Goals, nor did he boot thier Punts.  Apparently, he is the Dallas Kickoff Specialist.  I can live with that.  However, what if Dallas has the ball with one second left in the Super Bowl, and they need a 69-yard Field Goal for the win?  A trojan could still be the hero of the Super Bowl.  But those odds are astronomical, so Bruins should have been leaning to Dallas.  Then, when you add the Aikman Factor, Dallas is definitely the choice over Philly.  Since Bruin Star Troy Aikman is a three-time Super Bowl Champion with the Cowboys, he gets lots of publicity and exposure — some for UCLA — as the Cowboys go further and further in the Playoffs.  So adding up Patterson and Justice versus Buehler and Aikman, the Cowboys take it… and that’s exactly what they did.  Justice and company couldn’t keep the Cowboys out of McNabb’s face, nor could they open any holes for their Running Backs.  Meanwhile, the Cowboys ran all over Patterson and the Eagle D-Line, cruising to a 34-14 victory.

Now I know what trojans are thinking:  At least there ARE SO MANY trojans in the NFL, to even BE in the Playoffs.  Well — Shouldn’t there be?  Considering that they PAY their players, give them cars, and set them up with agents, AND BRAG ABOUT IT DURING RECRUITING, isn’t it a forgone conclusion that they will infiltrate the League at a high rate?  It’s still fun to watch them, when they show no heart and go down without a fight.

And there ARE some Bruins still alive, but they are all TIED to a trojan.  In other words, there is no way that a Bruin can get a Ring, without a trojan ALSO getting one.  The “closest” to a perfect scenario is Minnesota.  The Vikings have Chris Kluwe, the Star Bruin Punter, who Punts and also Holds for Viking Field Goals.  And the only trojan on their roster is Drew Radovich, and he is not on the ACTIVE roster — He’s on the Practice Squad.  So it appears safe for Bruin fans to root for Brett Favre, Adrian Peterson, and the Purple People Eaters.  Another “sort of” safe team is Baltimore.  Formerly The Team of Jonathan Ogden, the Ravens show no trojans, while carrying two Bruins on their INACTIVE List — Injured Special Teams Pro Bowler Brendan Ayanbadejo, and retired Wide Receiver Drew Bennett.  It’s not certain, but maybe at least one of them would be granted a Ring if they won?  Or maybe the roster online is outdated, and neither of them would qualify.  It’s probably a moot point, as Baltimore plays in New England on Sunday, as the Underdog.

The Patriots still have Senior Seau on their team (and probably on life support), as well as ex-trojan Thomas Williams.  However, they also have Bruin Kick Returner Matthew Slater.  Unfortunately, Seau will probably get more exposure and playing time than Slater, so unless Matthew can break into the line-up and break one for a TD, I have to root against the Pats.  And besides, they are like the Celtics of the NFL, supported by Red Sox fans, and led by smarmy Bill Belichick, who was a major a-hole to Bruin Freddie Mitchell back when they faced each other in a previous Super Bowl.

The other Sunday game is Arizona hosting Green Bay.  The Cards have Matt Leinart, who will only play if 90-year old Kurt Warner gets hurt, but that is always a possibility.  They also have Duece Lutui on their OL, which outweighs having Bruin Matt Ware, because Ware is on the IR.   So, Arizona is NO GOOD for Bruins to root for…  mainly because it COULD lead to Leinart starting — or as unlikely as it seems — winning — a Super Bowl.  Meanwhile, the Packers have two Bruins and one trojan.  Spencer Havner is now the 3rd String Tight End, and Brandon Chillar plays Linebacker, but so does ex-trojan Clay Matthews, who happens to be a Media Darling.  Hopefully, Chillar, not Matthews, makes any big plays for Green Bay.

Another Bruin defender still alive is Rodney Leislie, of the Saints.  But if you think I’m going to root for Reggie Bush’s team, you’ve lost it.  They also have ex-Condumb Sedrick Ellis, like that even matters.  The point is, Bush should NOT get to sniff the Lombardi Trophy until long after his Heisman Trophy is repossessed.

The Favorite to win it all in some circles is Indy, which has no Bruins,and only one trojan, Fili Moala, a Defensive Tackle.  Of course, if Indy wins, Manning will probably be the Star, so Moala may slide by unnoticed, just like Rookie Strong Safety Kevin Ellison, the last ex-trojan I have to mention, who plays for San Diego.  I don’t want ANY trojan to taste the bubbly, but there is no doubt:  It would be a lot less distasteful for Bruin fans if it’s Fili Moala or Kevin Ellison getting the shower on February 7th, instead of Reggie Bush.   


One response to “Trees “RIDE GREEN TO MAPLES” Win”

  1. UCLADavid Avatar

    Nice to see Spencer Havner catch a TD today in Green Bay’s loss. Go Bruins!