For the second year in a row, UCLA headed to Pullman, huge favorites over Washington State but Ken Bone’s Cougars smacked the Bruins around. Last year, they were battling for (and ultimately held onto) a No. 1 seed in the Pac-12 Tournament. This season, they will be a No. 2 seed. In both seasons, the Cougars were dead-last on the Pac-12 totem pole at game time, yet both times they simply dismantled the Bruins in Beaseley Coliseum.
I already know what UCLA fans are saying “somebody needs to be fired for this!” Right? Ok, so maybe they’re not saying that this year (actually to my surprise not much backlash is being handed out on twitter about it, probably because everybody in Westwood was sleeping at the time, or perhaps the knowledge of Steve Alford’s ridiculous buyout prohibits it anyway, even to the most senile of fans) but still it’s got to be disturbing down there, right? Washington State?
The Bruins would recover to make the Championship game of the Pac-12 Tournament last season, but then that team showed up against Oregon and again vs Minnesota in the NCAA’s. This year, what does a loss like this mean? We won’t know until next weekend or perhaps the weekend after, but at the very least it puts this Bruins team squarely in the “most vulnerable” category.
It may in fact cost the Pac a second high really high seed in the NCAA’s. The Bruins may have pulled a 3 or 4-seed with them, perhaps they still will if they recover in the conference Tourney this week. But now the generally ‘East-friendly’ NCAA Selection Committee may not have any favors to hand out with regards to region, they like to screw the Pac-12 as much as possible it seems anyway.
Seriously though, does anybody really know this team? This isn’t the ‘old UCLA’ that everybody has been following. They are one of the quietest 2-seeds in their conference tournament, in the entire country. Now, unless they make the final this week, they’ll be all but obsolete in that role to the voters. At least that’s how I see it.
True, there isn’t the speculation, disturbance or distraction that haunted the True Blue and Gold to their demise in 2013. Also, they did basically finalize their seed and season with a win over Washington on the road Thursday, so maybe they just simply ignore it, chalking it up to nothing to play for, or perhaps just a bad night on a ‘cold’ Palouse (where despite their tremendous overall record against the Cougars, they never seem to play well anyhow) and move on to bigger and better things. We’ll see.
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