National Championship: Not Even Close
On Sunday afternoon I checked my email and I was alerted to seven new comments on the blog here. I logged in and found that I had apparently ticked off UCLA fans with my Final Four post(which is interesting since I spent more time blasting LSU and Big Baby than I did anyone else.) Anyway, the comments ranged from intelligent and well thought out to idiotic and spinless such as refusing me permission to engage in oral activities with one commenters nether regions or calling me a hillbilly(oh and just because someone was born, raised, and resides in North Carolina does not make them a hillbilly, that kind of generalization about the South is only used by people who do not know better). Of course my favorite was being told that I was jealous of the UCLA legacy. Since I have been on this earth only 31 years and since my first basketball memory is the 1982 NCAA title win by my beloved Heels I really have no inkling of what went on during the UCLA dynasty other than what I read in the history books. I have only been concerned with what has happened in my lifetime. Does that mean I disregard the UCLA run? No, just like I would never disregard the 1957 NCAA Championship UNC won as a 32-0 team. However, it would be exceedingly difficult for me to be jealous of something which I never witnessed happening. So in the past 30 years UNC has thoroughly outperformed UCLA in every conceivable facet and this is not conjecture this is proven in the history books. Since 1976, the first year of the post-John Wooden era UNC has won 3 titles to UCLA's 1, been to 10 Final Fours compared to 4 by UCLA, and won 28 more NCAA tournament games than the Bruins with a higher winning percentage. UNC has made every tournament in that span except two while UCLA has missed 8. So if jealously can be defined by being envious of a program that has consistently performed worse than yours in the course of your lifetime then your are correct I am jealous. And if that was not enough, we also got this: Florida 73 UCLA 57 Now before I hear any "At least we got to the title game, UNC lost to a mid-major" let's look at a few things. First, the mid-major that beat UNC was at the Final Four too, so please do not try and tell me that George Mason was your run-of-the-mill mid-major team. Secondly, what goes around comes around, and looking back on NCAA Tournament history UCLA has had their share of first and second round losses to low seeds. Anyone remember only scoring 41 points in losing to #13 seeded Princeton in 1997? And finally, if you get to a title game, then you should at least show up and keep it close for longer than five minutes. In fact three of the five times UNC has been in a title game in the past 30 years they walked away a national champion which is more than I can say for UCLA now 1 for 3 in the same span. And where pray tell was that vaunted UCLA defense? The style of play which was heralded by one commenter as a "return to fundamentals" and that UCLA was "doing something special on defense" Well, Florida thought is was so special they got nine dunks in the second half. Ryan Humprey thought it was special he hit 4 for 8 from three point range. And how many turnovers did Florida have? Six? Seems a little low for a team playing against a great defense. Now I really am not trying to be a jerk or be completely classless. UCLA had a great year and will have great things to come. I am sure they will win a title down the road here and who knows it may come at UNC's expense and I will eat major crow. UCLA had a great year, they are Pac 10 champions and if anything the fact they had a 12 game winning streak may have played a part because it seems that teams with long winning streaks do not seem to win the tournament. And UCLA does play great defense and they would not have been a team I would have wanted UNC to face this season since the Tar Heels were largely focused on Tyler Hansbrough inside. That being said, if there is anything I have learned in watching basketball for as long as I have it is this: Measure your words very, very carefully and do not come onto a fan blog for a team you have not played in several years and flame him with talk of winning a 12th title or how UCLA will win 5 titles before UNC wins another one when you haven't actually won the championship yet! The result of excessive trash talking prior to sealing the deal is when you lose like UCLA did tonight is your words are out there in written form for anyone to see and in the end you look like an idiot. But hey at least you guys made anonymous comments. Congratulations Florida!