The Red Wave, indeed! And wasn't it refreshing. If you weren't there, you have no idea what it felt like. This was nothing less than a Midwestern-style state tournament of your dreams: All these nice farmers and small-business mom and pops from Fresno rolling into Westwood's Yuppie heaven on that ubiquitous sea of red. It was twice as much fun as the Notre Dame game.
If the Bruins' good defensive effort kept Fresno State under control down on the floor, certainly the Wave broke in full force in the stands. If you've ever had the feeling college cheers were a less than spontaneous, slightly mechanical embarrassment, here was an occasion you felt a little embarrassed not to be up and yelling. The noise level could have killed roaches: "F-S-U" and "Go Dogs" bouncing off the east/west walls. UCLA's eight-clap bouncing off the north/south walls.
Not the least of the game's pleasures was the almost complete absence of TV coverage. It was, apparently, not important enough, so you either bought a ticket and saw a genuine spectacle, or you missed it.
Sure, the NIT is a funny little tournament, but if it can produce games like this, more power to it.
What a shame that UCLA fans live in a big city where it's chic for the media to run down the home team. The NIT may not be the big time, but you wouldn't hear anyone complaining about it in Fresno.
As for the seeding, Fresno State couldn't beat a Pac-10 team in three tries before the NIT, so why would they be seeded ahead of UCLA? Of course, it's a better story to postulate a mystical conspiracy to get UCLA to the finals, but I think the real story is how a previously beat-down bunch of kids are now playing the best basketball seen in Westwood in many a year.
E. T. BRYAN
Why can't Mark Heisler admit the UCLA Bruins have turned into a good basketball team? Who cares where the game was played. UCLA had to face a very good Fresno State team and face a stadium filled with mostly Fresno State fans (or is Mr. Heisler color-blind and can't tell red from blue?). Let's stop making excuses and report it like it is.
The time has come for UCLA to terminate its annual basketball rivalry with Notre Dame. It is difficult to understand why UCLA students, fans and alumni masochistically endure the insults and nauseating behavior of Digger Phelps. What are the benefits to UCLA from playing Notre Dame? None! And what does Notre Dame get? Plenty!
As an independent, Notre Dame needs big games like UCLA for entry into the NCAA tournament. Playing UCLA helps Phelps' recruiting in California and elsewhere. Moreover, UCLA consistently gets high ratings on nationally televised games, thus giving Notre Dame additional national exposure. Digger has forgotten the significant role played by UCLA in building his program during the late 1960s and thereafter.
A first-class school and program like UCLA's does not need to associate with the classless act of Digger Phelps. There are plenty of colleges that would love to be on UCLA's schedule. Incidentally, UCLA will be playing Temple next season. Bravo!
Professor of Management
Apparently, Clippers Weren't Listening
I've been reading with some amusement and a little anger about the Clippers crying foul and saying the Milwaukee Bucks covered up Marques Johnson's drug treatment. Let me point out that I am only a casual NBA fan, but I heard about Marques' treatment for drugs more than two years ago. How is it that the average man on the street could have known about Marques' alleged drug treatment and the Clipper management, responsible for making multimillion-dollar personnel decisions, just heard about it on Feb. 9?
We love Marcus in Wisconsin and would welcome him back in a minute.
Eau Claire, Wis.
Replacing the coach didn't seem to solve the Clippers' problem. I think they should replace the team.
Hat's Off to Cheryl and the USC Women
I have been attending sporting events in Los Angeles for 40 years. The only team I purchased season tickets for this year was the USC basketball team.
I bought them specifically for the women's team and to see Cheryl Miller play. She is a joy to watch. She is a joy because she likes to play basketball. She plays the way Magic used to play. I have watched her with kids after the games. She cares.
Thank you, Cheryl, and the rest of the team and coaches for some exciting basketball. See you next year.
Don't Hold Your Breath Waiting for Stanley Cup