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I Meant to Do That

April 5th, 2021 · No Comments · Basketball, UCLA

I didn’t really think UCLA’s Bruins would be “ruined” versus Gonzaga in the NCAA semifinals — despite what I wrote before the game.

(See previous entry.)

What that was … was invoking the opposite of what I really wanted, as a long-time UCLA fan. Not the blowout I predicted, but something a lot closer.

This is a primitive attempt to shift all the “mojo” to the other side. To the “overdog” — which was Gonzaga, the 14.5-point betting favorite.

And it very nearly worked.

Sometimes we forget that “fan” comes from “fanatic.” And those of us who are not quite rational about our expressions of support … we reach for any tool we can find.

In this case, it was talking up Gonzaga, unbeaten, No.1 ranked Gonzaga, and how they would brutalize the Bruins, moving them within one game of a first national championship and the first unbeaten season since Indiana in 1975.

If that got around to enough of UCLA’s players and coaches, great. If endorsing the other side is accepted by enough players … UCLA really could mount the enormous upset, enabling them to indulge in the “no one thought we could win … we shocked the world!” patter.

Which is very tiring, actually. A train of tripe. If we collected every NCAA basketball tournament team that felt “disrespected” … we wouldn’t be able to get them all into the Lucas Oil Field in Indianapolis.

OK, to tell the truth, I really did think UCLA would lose and would lose big. They fooled me. They never gave up, they kept battling, they could have won in regulation before losing in overtime on that 40-footer at the buzzer by Jalen Suggs.

Defeat with dignity means something, and UCLA won on that count. There might be something there, something that in a year or two might get them back.

Just in case you didn’t see the game, here are the final minutes of regulation and all of overtime.


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