No love from CU fans
Walking into MGM Grand Garden Arena among a sea of red and a small pool of blue and yellow, Colorado fans Kevin Swope and Nelson Miner held their heads high.
Without a horse in the race, the Buffalo supporters still wanted to see a matchup of two great teams, even if they were supporting one more than the other.
“UCLA,” Swope said.
“The lesser of two evils,” Swope said. “We definitely had animosity toward Arizona coming into the conference. The media wants our rival to be Utah, and historically, maybe, geographically, maybe. But rivalries are played out on the field, and Arizona is the team we hate.”
They must have been seeing red, seeing so much red.
The Wildcats turned the Las Vegas arena essentially into McKale Center, with a huge turnout over the four days.
“Arizona are great basketball fans — they overwhelm the rest of the arena and take it over,” Miner said. “The rest of us have to stick together and try to survive. Look, we all aspire to be Arizona.
“That’s what we shoot for. So it’s like rooting for the Yankees if you’re the Baltimore Orioles.”
After UCLA closed its regular season in disastrous fashion, care of an 18-point loss at lowly Washington State last Saturday, expectations were low for a
Pac-12 tourney championship run.
Particularly with the then-hottest team in the league on the dais in the quarterfinals. On Thursday, the Bruins made easy work of Oregon, which had won eight straight, erasing any self-doubt from the loss to the Cougars.
There wasn’t much worry after the WSU loss, though, as UCLA coach Steve Alford said he threw away the game tape and wouldn’t let his players watch a second of film from it.
“We came into this tournament with a chip on our shoulder, but you beat a great team like Oregon, a hot team like Oregon, the way we did, and it definitely boosts your confidence,” UCLA freshman Bryce Alford said. “Same with Stanford; we took it to them from the beginning, and they’re an NCAA tournament (team), too. Getting our feet wet with those wins definitely got us on the right track.”
Sometimes you just know.
The second Jordan Adams released a three-pointer from the top of the perimeter with 45 seconds left in Saturday’s game, he felt it was good. There was no doubt.
“Yeah I knew it was good,” Adams said of his final basket, which put him at 19 points in the No. 2-seeded Bruins’ 75-71 win over top-seeded Arizona. “I was just waiting for it to go in.”
UA coach Sean Miller may have known it, too, but it didn’t make it any easier.
He knows one thing for sure, though, and he delivered the message to Adams in the postgame handshake line.
“He told me he hopes he never has to play me again,” Adams said.
Robe Guy reigns
Forget Kyle Anderson, the Pac-12 tournament MVP was definitely Robe Guy.
UCLA had an … eccentric? … fan sitting courtside dressed in a blue robe, and he wasn’t just a hit on Twitter and on television.
After Adams’ go-ahead three-pointer rained down, Adams ran back up the court and pointed at Robe Guy.
It might seem insignificant, but with Arizona’s shooting difficulties, ownership of the glass is at a premium. That made UCLA’s 38-37 rebounding advantage that much more crucial, particularly as the Bruins struggled from the field in the second half as well.
Tweet of the night
1st Arizona loss this season where the court wasn’t stormed... @eitancramer