San Jose: Famous last words

By Eric Sorenson - March 24, 2007


UCLA wins 68-55 and advances to the Final Four (not like you didn't know that).

First off, the all-tournament team:

Jamal Tatum, Southern Illinois
Russel Robinson, Kansas
Darren Collison, UCLA
Brandon Rush, Kansas
Aaron Afflalo, UCLA

MVP: Aaron Afflalo

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Key plays of the game:
1- At the end of the first half, Aaron Afflalo penetrates into the key, but kicks out a pass to Josh Shipp in the corner, who buries the three as the horn sounds to put UCLA up 35-31 at the half.
2- With the shot clock winding down in the second half, point guard Darren Collison puts up an NBA three-pointer and sinks it to give UCLA an 8-point advantage and ignite the pro-Bruin crowd.

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Bill Self:
For the last 25 minutes of the game, they controlled the game. I think we got sped up. I thought our guards got a little careless. We overpenetrated, should have been driving to the dish more. But you know, the kids were trying so hard. I mean, being sped up on defense is great, but we needed to flip it; you need to be sped up on defense and relaxed on offense.

Both teams can guard. Heck, we had 17 steals and forced 25 turnovers. But you've got to make shots and they made theirs.

I'd much rather play in the game (and not make the Final Four) than not be in it. But it hurts. This is a hard-working profession to put yourself in this position. But I'm not going to look and say "poor pitiful me." It's not about that.

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Ben Howland:
We beat the best team we played all year. For sure, Kansas is the best team in my opinion that we faced all season.

We were fortunate to be able to win with 25 turnovers. We shot over 50%, which I think was the only team all year to shoot over 50% against them. But it's kind of an asterisk next to it with 25 turnovers.

I thought the shot at the end of the half was great. Aaron Afflalo made a great read and penetrated and hit Josh for the shot. Taht gave us great momentum going into the half. Then it was like two boxers going at it in the second half. Both teams were slugging it out the first three or four minutes.

Then Darren's shot was unbelievable. Shots like that are back-breakers. You're playing great defense and then a guy hits an unbelievable shot from 25 feet. That is tough. The bounces went our way.

There's no doubt that Bill Self and Kansas are going to win a national championship here at some point. They do an incredible job. They're as well-coached as anybody we've played. It's an incredible program.

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Best cheerleaders/dancers: UCLA.
Hands down, a no-brainer.

Posted by Eric Sorenson at 10:15 PM on March 24, 2007
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