UCLA and Coach Howland have nothing to be ashamed of. A bigger team can sometimes defeat a quicker team, a quicker team can sometimes defeat a bigger team, and a better shooting team can sometimes defeat a team that is both bigger and quicker.
However, when a team is bigger, quicker and better shooting, all you can do is say sayonara and hope to make it back to the Final Four again next year.
Two questions regarding UCLA's third meltdown in a row:
How is it that a veteran team that has been there three times in a row played like a bunch of scared rookies?
Did Kevin Love turn pro at halftime?
William David Stone
I thought I was watching a rerun, UCLA losing in the big game after Bill Plaschke and the L.A. Times had anointed the Bruins as the eventual champions for weeks. For being only a cheerleader, John Calipari sure did a nice job of coaching.
Apparently, all it takes to be an award-winning sports columnist is no memory. Bill Plaschke proclaims Ben Howland a coaching genius on Saturday and recants on Sunday, after the Bruins lose to an extremely talented Memphis team. Getting to the Final Four three years in a row is a major accomplishment, and as long as Howland keeps the Bruins in the hunt every year -- as he figures to with his incoming recruiting class -- he'll win the big one sooner or later.
Ooh, how embarrassing, Bill. They even mentioned your ludicrous column a couple of times during the national telecast of the game. It did make me wonder, though; do they require you to actually watch a few other teams during the season?
Plaschke's columns are like a cheap bottle of wine. You hope they might be good, but they always give you a headache when you are done with them.
Speculation has been that both Kevin Love and Darren Collison would be leaving UCLA at the end of this season. Then The Times runs a story with more speculation about them leaving and Coach Howland is reported as being upset about hearing this.
Seems to be a lot of speculating going on. I think I would rather just read a story that reported the facts.
I now believe in reincarnation. The ghost of George Allen inhabits Ben Howland. All defense. Can't win the big one.
Defense wins championships? No. Balance wins championships.
Steven C. Hull
Phil coaches the triangle but no defense. Ben coaches great defense but no offense. Can somebody arrange a play date for these guys?
Amazing how the fortunes of a college coach can change in 48 hours. Saturday night, John Calipari was hailed for outcoaching Ben Howland. Two nights later, he became the Emperor Nero of coaching -- fiddling away while Memphis burned.
Mark S. Roth
Memo to Memphis:
Spend more time at the free-throw line and less time at the tattoo parlor.
Marcia de la Vega
I don't know which Billy Packer remark made during the national championship game between Memphis and Kansas was more asinine:
"Calipari is the first coach from a non-BCS Conference to make it to two Final Fours" or this beaut: "Kansas is familiar with overtime for a national championship, having gone to triple overtime in 1957 against North Carolina."
Earth to Billy:
1) BCS = Football
2) No one playing for Kansas was anywhere near being born in 1957, including Coach Bill Self.
Eventually, Packer will get an earful from Al Maguire!