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March 22, 2007

The games have gotten underway. A couple hours or so until tip. I’m not ready to start the open thread, but here are just a few more stories — quick hitter — to read if you need to pass the time.

Seth Davis at SI.com went with UCLA. I’m not shocked. Look, Pitt hasn’t won in this round. It’s a generally safe bet to go with that trend. Add in that it’s against UCLA, and there is no reason for most pundits to pick Pitt.

The whole getting past the Sweet 16 issue.

UCLA will try to get Aaron Afflalo going early. He’s struggled lately, but isn’t concerned. Mike DeCourcy at the Sporting News, however, is.

Oh, you bet it’s missing. It’s missing almost three-fourths of the time lately. A 39.5 percent 3-point shooter heading into the final weekend of the regular season, he is at 27.6 percent over the past five games. He does not look as confident in his shot, and this has had a devastating effect on the Bruins’ offense. They had a 3-2 record in that stretch, and, perhaps even more foreboding, averaged 59.4 points.

The Bruins’ attack depends on Afflalo being a force. The Bruins are not making it out of California if he struggles in these next two games. Presuming there are two more games. It’ll be hard for UCLA to beat Pittsburgh without a significant Afflalo contribution.

It would be nice to keep him down and struggling.

Some are disappointed with the second year output of Luc Richard Mbah a Moute.
Washington Post story on Dixon-Howland.

Nebraska (and former Pitt) AD Steve Pederson will be pulling for Pitt and recalls the recruiting of Jamie Dixon to come on as an assistant.

Former Stanford and Golden State Warrior HC Mike Montgomery picks UCLA for the game (shocking, I know).

The question is, can you get it all worked out in four days of preparation? If people don’t have the skills to make those kinds of plays against a defense as intense as UCLA’s, you’re not going to learn it in a week.

Now, I would guess that same game plan is also what Pitt runs. I think the key for UCLA is Collison. He creates off the dribble. If Pitt controls Collison, and Afflalo and Shipp don’t have good games, then UCLA is in trouble. They’re not going to score enough points to win.

But I’m going to pick UCLA because, if nothing else, they might do what they do better. Also, the Bruins are at home, so to speak. Every UCLA alum I know is trying to get tickets.

No kidding. It’s in the state and under 350 miles from LA.





We’ve had some games this season where an opponent’s most talented player has been in a slump and uses the challenge of Pitt’s defense as motivation to have a big comeback. Pitt’s defense is renowned, but the success of our defense is more about 5 guys against 5 guys, and 1 really hot player can have a lethal effect against us. UCLA has a few guys who can get really hot. Pitt has to be ready for anything, and be confident in themselves as a team.

This IS a home game for UCLA, but this Panther team doesn’t seem fazed by hostile crowds. Plus tonight we’re the underdogs, so maybe some fans from the first game will be cheering for us.

Comment by bill 03.22.07 @ 8:35 pm

the fans from the winner of the first game will no doubt be rooting for us………..

about one more hour…SLOWEST.DAY.EVER.

Comment by schoe 03.22.07 @ 8:45 pm

And no one in the world believes in us…the line is up to -4….whens the last time a line move -2 away from pitt?

I can’t wait til the game starts, i’m actually glad there’s a pen’s game on to kill the time. Watching bball right now would make it worse.

Comment by Stuart 03.22.07 @ 8:55 pm

Seriously, why do they do this?

link to bruinsnation.com

I’m embarassed for them…

If anyone ever puts animations like that on this blog i’ll will never read or post to it again. EVER.

Comment by Stuart 03.22.07 @ 9:00 pm

Stuart,

Um, is that a threat or a promise?

Comment by Chas 03.22.07 @ 9:02 pm

Why do the floors of the gyms the NCAAs pick always seem to have some freaky paint jobs? Buffalo’s looked like a throwback to the 70’s. San Jose’s floor looks bleached out. Both hurt my eyes to watch.

Gawd, I need the game to start…I’m whining about floor colors.

Comment by geeman2001 03.22.07 @ 9:03 pm

theres some great basketball on now to pass the time until the game

Comment by matt 03.22.07 @ 9:04 pm

Promise.

Comment by Stuart 03.22.07 @ 9:05 pm

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