DOHN: Bruins' expectations for 2008-09 season outweighed reality

Full story: LA Daily News

The wonderment of going to three successive Final Fours also carried the curse of unrealistic expectations, which UCLA fed by talking about winning the elusive national title.

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Gadz

Downey, CA

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#1
Mar 22, 2009
 
They did the best they could without an inside game. About as far as they should have gone.
barrya

Albuquerque, NM

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#2
Mar 22, 2009
 
Only one point on which I disagree, Brian - considering what he had to work with, I don't think it was not a successful season. Applying criteria that do not take reality into consideration, like success means winning a national championship and nothing less, one can say anything one wants; on that basis, every school in the country but one had an unsuccessful season.

But you nailed it in your article - this was a team that, with a proper late ref's call at ASU and avoiding one other collapse - like not scoring for 12 minutes at home vs ASU, should have won enough to be seeded in the West and likely would have made it to the Sweet 16 - and no farther. That it got close to that with all the shortcomings and all the changes is a pretty good effort. I wouldn't call the season not a success given the realities with which the coach and players had to work.
Joe

Los Angeles, CA

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#3
Mar 22, 2009
 
No one wanted to say it, but this was a rebuilding season. When you lose two top 5 picks to the draft, and another player in the 2nd round, it's not going to be a good seaon.

But still, they finished second in a pretty good Pac-10, but they just never had the big men to rebound and play defense.

Either way, next seasons team will have big men like Morgan and Gordon. Jrue looked great as a point guard in the final games, and he's going to be really good if he comes back and plays his natural position rather than shooting guard.

Jrue Holiday will be amazing next season as a point guard!!!!!

GO BRUINS!!!!!
zena01

United States

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#4
Mar 22, 2009
 
UCLA needs help for next year. Will J. Mission be returning if so he needs to start at center. Holiday must stay. So it will be a long summer, but UCLA can manage to get itself back together
Jay Rizzle

Benicia, CA

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#5
Mar 22, 2009
 
I agree, we didn't have the toughness inside. Their offensive rebounds were like knockout punches when determining momentum. I think that with a solid base of Jrue Holiday, Drew Gordon, Malcolm Lee, and whoever else is left, we need a big inside presence. What's going on with this guy J'Mison Morgan???? Is he one of those Michael Fey guys? I hope not, that guy was soft.
spc

Märsta, Sweden

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#6
Mar 23, 2009
 
Great insight about the blueprint for the team, 90% complete, calling an audible. I hadn't looked at it that way before.

That said, Villanova is nothing more than a dirty bunch of thugs and the officials destroyed what could have at least been a good game. I think when their own players are bragging after the game that they decked our guys -- twice -- to show them "This is Big East basketball and this is the way it's going to be," they are admitting they were intentional fouls, that contact was excessive and that they were playing the man, not the ball. The referees blew it by not calling it either time and especially by not calling it the second time. Personally, I think Howland should have been out on the floor after Collison got decked on the breakaway and intentionally gotten himself a technical if necessary. It was an outrage. It was obvious. And it changed the game.

Was Villanova the better team? We'll never know now.
spc

Märsta, Sweden

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#7
Mar 23, 2009
 

Judged:

1

Oh, we do know that Howland got his clock cleaned in the coaching battle. He had no response -- none -- to two of our players getting decked in the opening minutes. Just like he had no response when Love was getting the crap kicked out of him against Memphis last year. You've got to know that teams are going to try that kind of stuff and have a response prepared. He should have had Aboya really hurt someone.
Bruin74

Tucson, AZ

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#8
Mar 23, 2009
 
Well written and on the money. Everybody expected way to much this ear. Next year will be the same. We are two years away from another try at a Final Four.
Aleks

Fullerton, CA

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#9
Mar 23, 2009
 
It may not have been successful in the eyes of someone who wasn't a fan, but knowing who they lost: Love, Westbrook, and Mbah a Moute, they did pretty good considering they didn't have a huge scoring threat. Jrue Holiday looked good some games, then others he didn't. He looked quite good when Collison was sat out in the VCU game and he took over as point guard. He drove and scored 13 points. It's obvious he feels more comfortable as a point guard. Jerime Anderson will have to pick up his skill level next year to be a sub for whoever the point guard is next year. Drew Gordon shows promise with some of his good blocks and defensive stops. Michael Roll and Nikola Dragovic will also have to step it up with consistency. Nikola, in some of the last games of the season, went to the basket, which is something he normally doesn't do. I watched him makes those layups and said, "He could be a could in-the-paint player if he works on getting to the basket more". We just need a consistent, confident shooter that can make shots while being aggressive enough to drive to the basket and draw fouls. We seemed to be absent of that til Josh Shipp stepped it up at the end of the season, but it still wasn't enough to play someone as dominant as Villanova.
bobzilla

Kapaa, HI

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#10
Mar 23, 2009
 
Maybe so, but Howland overplayed his upper classmen and practically ignored what was billed as one of the top freshman classes in the country. In the second half of most games we never got to see Drew Gordon or Malcolm Lee. By the time the end of the season and most games came along, the starters where too gassed to make a run. I wouldn't be surprised to see some of these young guys transfe outr, and I wouldn't blame them. Gordon, especially, should have been given more of a chance. He was an absolute high energy animal down low who could have been a double double machine if given half a chance.
Panama 2004

United States

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#11
Mar 23, 2009
 
It was a mistake to start Holiday the last 10 games of the season. He displayed a very inconsistant shooting touch, made too many bad decisions while handling the ball and was terrible on defense. NBA? Maybe in 3 more years.
Velo Route

Mission Viejo, CA

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#12
Mar 25, 2009
 
Aleks wrote:
It may not have been successful in the eyes of someone who wasn't a fan, but knowing who they lost: Love, Westbrook, and Mbah a Moute, they did pretty good considering they didn't have a huge scoring threat. Jrue Holiday looked good some games, then others he didn't. He looked quite good when Collison was sat out in the VCU game and he took over as point guard. He drove and scored 13 points. It's obvious he feels more comfortable as a point guard. Jerime Anderson will have to pick up his skill level next year to be a sub for whoever the point guard is next year. Drew Gordon shows promise with some of his good blocks and defensive stops. Michael Roll and Nikola Dragovic will also have to step it up with consistency. Nikola, in some of the last games of the season, went to the basket, which is something he normally doesn't do. I watched him makes those layups and said, "He could be a could in-the-paint player if he works on getting to the basket more". We just need a consistent, confident shooter that can make shots while being aggressive enough to drive to the basket and draw fouls. We seemed to be absent of that til Josh Shipp stepped it up at the end of the season, but it still wasn't enough to play someone as dominant as Villanova.
Dragovic too slow because too heavy. He needs to lose weight so he can jump ...

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