Saturday, March 18, 2006

UCLA vs. Alabama: Game Day Stories

By Bruin Basketball Report

Stories from outside the L.A. Writer's Beat Beltway

Steele downplays high-profile matchup: One's from the San Fernando Valley, a high-profile talent who went to a high-profile basketball school. The other is from Birmingham, not exactly known as a mecca for basketball talent. He's a high-profile player as well, but his background and his decision to play at a university known more for its football program keeps him under the radar. Today, Jordan Farmar and Ronald Steele will meet on the court, and each will play a major roll in whether UCLA or Alabama advances to the Sweet 16. Montgomery Advisor

Gottfried leads Alabama against school that gave him his start: Mark Gottfried ripped the page about soft-selling his Alabama team out of old boss Jim Harrick's playbook. Yeah, right.UCLA coach Ben Howland knew a fraud when he heard one later. "Is that a Jim Harrick deal?'' Howland said, drawing laughter before mimicking a typical Harrick phrase in the former UCLA coach's slow drawl. "I mean, come on,'' Howland said, chiding Gottfried. "That is very, very unfair of him to characterize his team like that after the kind of year they've had and some of the quality wins they've had.'' Sports Illustrated

Alabama faces UCLA in NCAA tournament: The concept of favorite and underdog felt like a hot potato to Alabama coach Mark Gottfried and UCLA coach Ben Howland on Friday. Gottfried insisted a win by Bama over the No. 7 Bruins tonight (7 p.m., WKRG-TV 5) in a second-round game of the NCAA tournament's Oakland Regional at Cox Arena would have to be a "huge, huge upset." Howland wasn't buying that line of logic. Mobile Register

Coaching carousel brings UCLA-'Bama matchup full circle: Howland wouldn't let him get away with it. Told of Gottfried's comments, Howland said, "What, is that a Jim Harrick deal?" Then Howland broke into an all-out Harrick impersonation, speaking ver-r-r-r-y slowly, with a lazy country drawl. "Well, we're not ver-r-r-r-y good," Howland said. "We're just gonna try to stay in the ballgame the best we can." The truth is, they're both good teams, and ver-r-r-r-y well-coached. USA Today

Future bright for UCLA freshman: UCLA forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute is only a freshman, but his career prospects couldn't be better. He may be a prince someday. Montgomery Advisor

Tide hopes upset of UCLA brewin': The roles are crystal clear: UCLA is the overwhelming favorite, Alabama the overwhelming underdog. The Bruins are supposed to roll into next week's Sweet 16 just up the coast in Oakland, the Crimson Tide is supposed to fly back home until next season. The Huntsville Times


(photo credit: AP)


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