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Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
A Long Time Coming
The last time Cal won in Tucson? 1995. A lot has happened since then, to say the least. Some of it has been great -- see my lovely daughter -- and some of it has been gruesome -- see 9/11 and its belated sequel, the global financial crisis. I'd started to think that the Bears would never win here. Year after year, I dutifully attended the game, thanks to the kindness of a former student on the Wildcat staff. Year after year, the results were the same. Usually Cal seemed hopelessly overmatched. The year I went with my dad was especially bad, as I recall. But the year I went with Skylar, Leon Powe's final season with the Bears, they actually had a chance to win. And lost.

This year I was torn between the impulse to go through the motions again and my irrational conviction that Cal's only chance was for me to stay away from McKale. Still, I wanted to go. And I almost went. When it didn't work out, though, I sat myself down in front of the television, and hoped against hope. Things looked bad for a while, as they had so many times before. But then the Bears settled themselves. They started taking advantage of Arizona's sloppy perimeter defense. Patrick Christopher broke out of a bad slump. Jorge Gutierrez sparked the team with his hustle and fine defense. And Jerome Randle caught fire. I'm still in shock:

Regular readers of this journal, even those who are bored by my entries pertaining to sports, will know this is a big deal for me. And those who know me best will have a more refined sense of just how big. I'm not going to trash the Wildcats. I actually like this year's Arizona team, despite its mental lapses. Chase Budinger plays basketball the way I have managed my intellectual labor. Jordan Hill is tremendous and so much fun to watch. I greatly enjoyed watching them beat Kansas in December with my friend Justin. But that's not going to be from singing to myself: "You know it. You know the story. Tell the whole damned world. . ."

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Current Location: 85704
Muse: Sam Cooke: "I was born by the river. . ."

5 comments or Leave a comment
elizabeg From: elizabeg Date: March 6th, 2009 06:52 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Go Bears!

cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: March 6th, 2009 07:08 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Thank you, for that.

From: catfishvegas Date: March 6th, 2009 07:17 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
This complete unwillingness to actually try to guard the guy who is on fire is driving me crazy! In three of the last four games, the Cats let a guy let a guy go nuts from the three point line, and then make no adjustments at all as the guy continues to shoot lights out. At least you Bears fans have to deal with the bittersweetness of having Montgomery at the helm. Randle better go knock the Devils on their ass...
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: March 6th, 2009 06:11 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I have to admit, it wasn't the best defense. Sure, Randle was shooting from way out. But he always does that. If they'd watched tape of the UCLA-Cal games and really worked on applying Ben Howland's approach, they probably would have won without much trouble, since Patrick Christopher was having an off night and the Bears' interior play was much worse than usual. When you have a great shooter who is also playing the point, you need to trap near the half-court line to disrupt him and trust that your interior players will handle him when he breaks through that first line of defense. Shit, I hope I didn't screw Cal by explaining this so succinctly.

As for Saturday, I'm pretty sure that ASU will kill us. They have lost three in a row. It's Pendergraph and Harden's last home game. To lose that would be unthinkable.
jstgerma From: jstgerma Date: March 8th, 2009 09:47 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I'm happy for you, even if it did likely cost Arizona a tourney bid. (Although their defeat of Stanford, which I found myself enjoying far more than I should have, considering I had to follow it on a Gamecast and should theoretically have conflicting allegiances, kept their hopes alive.) And I also had a great time at the Kansas game.

But, his incredible left-handed alley oop dunk in that game notwithstanding, I just can't get behind Chase Budinger, even though I like him as a player and, in the few interactions I had with him, he seemed like a nice enough kid. It may not even be his fault -- I think I've just seen too many Arizona wings like him in recent years: talented, versatile, supremely athletic, but inconsistent and unwilling or unable to take over a big game.
5 comments or Leave a comment