In case you missed it, UCLA lost to Middle Tennessee State the other night 86-66. Yes, this season is starting out that poorly for Ben Howland and you have to wonder how much the Bruin’s struggle are affecting Shabazz Muhammad? Things seem very unstable in Westwood:
UCLA’s season already feels like its on the brink. It’s been eight years since the Bruins started 0-2. That season was Steve Lavin’s last; the Bruins finished 10-19. Fans are not anxious or panicking — they are full-on freaking out. This awful start puts a threat that 2012 No. 1 recruit Shabazz Muhammad will consider the Bruins. If Howland doesn’t get Muhammad and UCLA misses the tournament this year, is he out? Plenty will make the case he’s a coach who will have gone through his life cycle there. The month of November is a crucial one for Howland’s future in Los Angeles.
It is no secret that Howland is not considered easy to play for. He’s had to bring in Korey McCray, an AAU coach out of Atlanta, to help with recruiting. It may not be enough. Howland’s going up against coaches who no doubt are killing him behind closed doors. With the talent UCLA has on the team right now, this has to be an NCAA tournament team this year. But we’re already at a point where a post like this is justified.
To top things off, UCLA takes part in the Maui Classic later this month, which is a very tough field and if things are not righted soon, the Bruins could emerge 1-4. That has to play into Shabazz’s decision, right?
It may be a good thing that the Kentucky/Penn State basketball game is available just on the internet. No disrespect to the Cats, but I detest Big 10 basketball and their slow, plodding, style of play. And remember, Penn State is the team that defeated Wisconsin 36-33 last season. Don’t worry, Kentucky will win Saturday, and John Calipari is ready for the slow it down type of play this season:
“I’d imagine most teams are going to try to do that to us. (Other teams will think) If we let them just move freely all over, let them run up and down the court, you’re losing. So you better get physical, knock people around, physically go at the rim, throw your body at them, hope they won’t take a charge, which we didn’t against Kansas.”
We all know that Kentucky fans are craaazy about Anthony Davis but the national media is starting to fawn over him as well. I realize most of you do not go to the Huffington Post, but Jordan Schultz has an excellent, “pointed” evaluation of Anthony Davis and calls him the most influential freshman in the country.
I really, really, hate that things like this are news in today’s sports landscape, but it seems that the Syracuse/Bernie Fine scandal reports seem to be a totally different animal from the Penn State situation. It will get lumped into the same type of investigation however. If you are going to discuss it at the water cooler today, here are some of the details and I will just leave it at that.
Kentucky is a 31 point underdog to the Georgia Bulldogs this weekend and whether that is right or not, I am not going to get into . I hate seeing my team picked to lose by so many, but no one is really giving Kentucky much of a chance to win. Here are some ESPN predictions for the weekend.
Chris Low: Georgia has proved the old adage that it’s not how you start, but how you finish. It’s also nice when you don’t have to face Western Division heavyweights Alabama, Arkansas and LSU. The Bulldogs have been the ultimate survivors this season and will make it nine in a row Saturday when they beat Kentucky to win the Eastern Division title. … Georgia 38, Kentucky 10
Edward Aschoff: This is all Georgia wanted: a shot at the SEC. Well, it’s right in front of you, Bulldogs. All you have to do is win in Athens Saturday and you’re headed back to Atlanta for the first time since 2005. Coach Mark Richt was being ushered out by fans at the beginning of the year. Now, those fans can’t get enough of him. Kentucky just doesn’t have the offense to put up enough of a fight. … Georgia 34, Kentucky 10