After looking over the bracket, it’s certainly possible UCLA will have a shot at winning the tournament (and an invitation to the Big Dance, though we certainly won’t win that). While UCLA missed out on the top 4 spots for the first round bye, we are the 5th seed. This means we get to play the worst team. While the Pac-12 has plenty of parity, USC was just one win away from being winless. Heck they’re so awful that most USC blogs are pretending that basketball doesn’t exist. We pretty much get a bye first round anyway.
In fact, if usc somehow beats UCLA, even I will be calling for Ben Howland’s resignation (only after finding somebody suitable though, of course). As far as the UCLA sports blogs universe goes, I’m probably the last to call for Howland’s head, but if usc beats UCLA this tournament, then it’s goodbye to Howland.
Looking at the rest of the bracket, we’ll be playing Arizona. We’ve lost to them, but we’ve also beat them pretty convincingly before at “home”. Staples Center will be pretty much a home game for UCLA, as we really haven’t had a home game… all year long. That will change next year though, so that’s another reason why I think next year will be much better than this year since we’ll be gaining extra confidence and rest. If you’ve been paying attention to the UCLA team this year, we’re MUCH better “home” than away.
If we get through Arizona, then it’s time that we face Washington. Now they’re the league’s best (which isn’t saying much, but I digress), but we just beat them. It’s certainly possible to beat them again. UCLA is looking in much better shape (though I’ve pointed out that their conditioning is horrible).
After that is the finals, and who knows what will happen in the finals. I just hope we don’t meet Cal in the finals, because they seem to be our kryptonite. I’m guessing Mike Montgomery can read Ben Howland’s mind or something of that sort, because UCLA aside, Cal teams really aren’t that great, to be honest. But Cal just lost to Stanford, so really anything is possible.
Treat this tournament like the Big Dance, it will definitely amusing. Any team can beat any team, and from an entertainment perspective, that makes this fun to watch. (Except usc. They’re just horribly terrible at basketball.)