The UCLA Bruins beat the #1 ranked Kentucky Wildcats on Thursday night, leading from wire to wire in a 10-point win. The Bruins sped out to the early 10-point (give or take four points or so) throughout the rest of the game. They played great defense, rebounded and shot the ball well, basically everything a team needs to do to pull off a big upset. UCLA won 87-77, never leading by less than for the final 19 minutes.
If there is one thing the Bruins did not do well, it was in the aftermath of the big win.Many of the students rushed the court. Do these kids not realize who they are? Yes, the 1970s might as well be the 1870s to the current UCLA students. But there are 11 National Championship banners at Pauley Pavilion are there not? I assume college students can read?
Even if they are blissfully unaware of names such as John Wooden, Lew Alcindor, Bill Walton, Jamaal Wilkes, Ed O’Bannon, Kiki Vandeweghe, Don McLean, Henry Bibby and so on, they should be old enough to remember three straight Final Four trips from 2006-2008. Have they never heard of Arron Afflalo, Kevin Love, Jordan Farmar, Ben Howland?
Recently there was a ESPN College Basketball round table discussion about whether UCLA was still an elite program. Wait, what? The only reason there is even a discussion on whether any other program (including Kentucky) is even in UCLA’s same class is due to one team, the Billy Donovan-led Joakim Noah, Al Horford, Lee Humphrey, Corey Brewer-led Florida Gators.
If not for those back-to-back NCAA Tournaments won by the Gators, the Bruins would have at least 12 NCAA Tournament titles and may have as many as 14. Florida beat the Bruins in the championship game in 2006, so we know the Bruins win that one if not for them. They then knocked UCLA in the semifinals in 2007, so the Bruins could well have won that one too.
So yes, UCLA is college basketball royalty. They are the only program with double figures in NCAA Tournament titles. When you are a UCLA student, even if you knock off the Golden State Warriors, act like you meant to do that. Don’t rush the floor.