Saturday, March 31, 2007

Sports: 5:47 PDT

March Madness. Florida vs. UCLA, NCAA Men's National Semifinals. GeorgiaDome. CBS television.

Did this once before, and UCLA won!

So here we go again ...

With apologies to Russell Crowe (General Maximus Meridius), Ridley Scott and who ever else was associated with the film Gladiator:

Three weeks from now I will be potting my tomato plants.
Imagine where you will be, and it will be so.
Hold the line!
Stay with me!

If you find yourself alone,
walking in the beach with the sun on your face,
do not be troubled,
for you are on Spring Break
and you are at Santa Monica Beach!!
UPDATE: What can you say? Hats off to Florida. IN the end, basketball is a simple game: put ball in basket. And when one team has more ways to put the ball in the basket that team wins.

IN post game Bruintalk, the host said, Coach Howland had to pick his poison - play the Florida bigs one-on-one and get beat inside or double-down and hope you can pick off the pass going back out or they miss the outside shot. IN the first half, the double-downs worked with the exception of Brewer's 3 threes. But in the second half, the flood gates opened as Florida hit the threes and eventually also starting cleaning up inside as well - game over.

Hats off to Coach Howland, the staff and the 2006-2007 Bruins for getting this far. If you asked me after last year's Final Four that the Bruins would make the Final Four again after losing three starters from the 2005-2006 team, I would say that would be a remarkable achievement. Indeed, despite how miserable the Bruin team and staff and fans are feeling tonight, it is a huge accomplishment.

It says something about the winning formula when three of the four Final Four teams have a serious presence in the middle. UCLA was the only team without that benefit. They got there because they played team defense to cover up that weakness. That worked against Indiana, Pittsburgh and Kansas but Florida had too many options.

So for Bruin fans, we await the next season and as for Monday, Bruinsnation will become honorary Buckeye fans for a day! Go O-HI-O!!


Thursday, March 29, 2007

Sports: Mountaineers Win 2007 NIT Championship

In case you were wondering, West Virginia defeated Clemson 78-73.

BTW, all four of the #1 seeds in the NIT got to the final four in MSG.


Sports: National Semifinals - Florida vs. UCLA

The newspaper in LA is running an article or three each day in the run up to the Final Four. Fans are hoping for a win but the realists know that Florida is the favorite.

Las Vegas says Florida is the favorite by 3 points. BTW, they have GTown favored by 1 over the Buckeyes.

Last year, the Bruins starting line-up: Farmar, Afflalo, Bozeman, Mbah a Moute and Hollins. The Bruin bench was: Collison, Abboya, Mata and Roll.

This year, Collison has taken over the point for Farmar. Collison gives the Bruins more speed on both offense and defense. He will have a huge assignment covering Florida's point guard Green. Collison will need to force a few turnovers and disrupt the timing of the Florida offense in order for the Bruins to have a chance. If we see the Gators flying around in a dunkfest, we are looking at another blowout so getting back on defense will be a key. When in the half-court, Collison will need to pressure Green so the passes into the Florida bigs are a little bit off allowing UCLA's double teams to poke it away, steal it or leave the frontline with a less ideal shot causing a miss.

Afflalo is a year better and stronger and hopefully he will have a better game than 3 for 10 shooting he had last year in the game against the Gators. He was hitting so many shots against Kansas so hopefully his shooting touch is back and that it will carry over to this game!

Bozman was a senior and his spot is taken by Shipp. Shipp gives more offense but less defense. However, in recent games, Shipp seems to have stepped it up a notch. Hopefully, the extra offense that Shipp gives will give Collison and Afflalo some more room to work in the half-court sets.

Mbah a Moute has continued to develop. A bit bigger and stronger than last year when he was completely overwhelmed by Florida's frontline. We need him to play tough defense and grab those rebounds on defense and sneaking a few offensive rebounds.

Mata has been a valuable presence in the middle. Not as tall as Hollins but bulkier, he isn't afraid of mixing it up underneath. Horford and Noah are 1st round NBA picks and Mata isn't. But Mata with his grit might disrupt the Gator inside game. Kansas had it share of inside opportunities but they seemed to rush their shots just a tiny bit. Call it the Mata-effect!

UCLA's bench is a bit better than last year. Westbrook doesn't play as many minutes as Collison did as back-up point but Westbrook is key to keeping Collison fresh for the final push in the 2nd half and he has shown some ability to score. Roll brings some three-point shooting off the bench and his minutes to give Afflalo and Shipp a break will be important. He has gotten stronger and is more confident putting up the shot from last year. Abboya is bigger and stronger than last year. He isn't as tall as Florida's bigs and not much on offense but he has a nose for the ball on rebounds. A big part of UCLA's defense includes letting the other team know you are there! Abboya has to be careful if the refs have a fast whistle! But part of what Abboya does is put that body on the other team's star big guy so they get frustrated. If the pace of the game gets a little fast or there is foul trouble, we will see Wright and Keefe.

If any other Bruins wind up playing, it means the game is a blow out and fans in Westwood are heading for heartbreak hotel.

IN any case, Go Bruins!


Thursday, March 22, 2007

Sports: Round 4 - Kansas vs. UCLA

Sat. Jayhawks vs. Bruins. Western Regional Finals.

Looking at the scores of today's regional semi-finals, it was about DEFENSE. KU beat SIU 61-58. Memphis edged A&M 65-64. UCLA defeated Pittsburgh 64-55. Quite striking that these games were all in the 50s and 60s. The only game that showed some offensive fireworks was the Ohio State vs. Tennessee game with the Buckeyes rallying furiously from a 20-point deficit. It looks to be coming down to the final possession or maybe even into overtime!

UPDATE: Its a final, Ohio State 85 UT 84!

UPDATE: UCLA 68 KU 55! Interesting stats: UCLA 24 turnovers. KU 21 turnovers. UCLA 15 steals. KU 17 steals. Whoa!

UPDATE: Have started to watch my VCR copy of the game, seems to me the turnovers and steals aren't about sloppy play but incredible pressure defense by both sides!


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Sports: Round Three - UCLA vs. Pittsburgh

Am nervous as heck about the West Regional semi-final match up between UCLA and Pittsburgh. In LA, the stories about the ties between Coach Howland and Coach Dixon fill the papers. It will be UCLA's perimeter players versus Pittsburgh's bigs. It is about two coaches who like defense. We shall see!

Expectations in BruinsNation is way out of control. UCLA's history since the last Wooden-coached championship in 1975 doesn't justify the demands of the fans. To put some numbers on it, in the last 32 years, UCLA has made the Final Four just four times.

Since Wooden, fans have been dreaming of a return to glory. There have been two shining moments prior to Howland that prompted optimism but each time it turned to ashes for fans of the UCLA basketball program shortly afterward.


Larry Brown arrived on the scene to take over a program in disarray where demanding fans ran out of town two coaches in four years. The Bruins came in 4th in the Pac-10 that year and drew an invitation which many analysts thought was simply because of the name brand. Brown took that starting line-up of 3 freshmen and 2 seniors on a magic carpet ride that ended in the championship game with a narrow defeat to a Denny Crum (former Wooden assistant) coached Louisville.

The following year, 1981, with expectations rising again, the #3 seeded Bruins were ousted in their opening game against BYU and the shooting of Danny Ainge amidst coach Larry Brown's impending departure. Indeed, Brown resigned from UCLA, assistant Larry Farmer took over but the Bruins were hit with probation for NCAA violations and thus no-post season play in 1982.

Bruins in Ruins became the mantra from 1982-1988.
1982 - probation, no-post season
1983 - defeated in the first round to Utah
1984 - didn't make the NCAA and declined an NIT bid, Larry Farmer resigned
1985 - Walt Hazzard took over the coaching duties and got UCLA's only NIT championship
1986 - UCLA lost in the opening round of the NIT to UC Irvine!
1987 - won the first round against Central Michigan then lost in round two to Wyoming
1988 - didn't make the NCAA and Walt Hazzard was fired

Jim Harrick took over coaching at UCLA and became the unlikely receptacle of the hope and dreams of the fans for restoration. However, Harrick, despite fairly successful recruiting, was widely criticized for not being able to win the "big game" as UCLA consistently stumbled early in the NCAA.

1989 - lost in round 2
1990 - lost in the sweet-16
1991 - lost in round 1, victim of Penn State in a 4/13 upset
1992 - lost in the regional finals blown out by Bobby Knight's Indiana
1993 - lost in round 2
1994 - lost in round 1, victim of Tulsa in a 5/12 upset

Then came ...


Edney's end-to-end drive to get the winning basket against Missouri in round 2. A high scoring affair with UConn in the Regional Finals. A knock down drag out with Ok State and Big Country Reeves in the National Semi-finals. And the magical game against Arkansas when Edney tried to play with an injured wrist but it became apparent that he couldn't continue so Cameron Dollar took over at point and Ed O'Bannon and Toby Bailey did the rest with strong contributions from Charles O'Bannon, J.R. Henderson and George Zedek. The 11th banner was put up!

But, in 1996, it was all ashes when UCLA lost to Princeton in arguable one of the biggest upsets in NCAA history. And then 1997 began with promise but a few games into the season Harrick was fired for lying about a recruiting expense report and Steve Lavin took over the team. Mike Gottfried and Lorenzo Romar were Harrick's top assistants on the 1995 championship run so they had since moved on to head coaching jobs of their own leaving Lavin as the senior assistant.

Lavin by all accounts was a decent guy but clearly in over his head.
1997 - lost in the regional semi-finals
1998 - lost in sweet-16
1999 - lost in round 1
2000 - lost in sweet-16
2001 - lost in sweet-16
2002 - lost in sweet-16
2003 - didn't make NCAA and was fired at the end of the season

Ben Howland took over a program that was in a ditch.
2004 - didn't make the NCAA and the fans understood the shelf was empty from the final Lavin years
2005 - UCLA was probably one of the last at-large teams that year and lost in the first round which the fans accepted because these were the last few Lavin recruits and just the first few Howland recruits.
2006 - a magic carpet ride for the Bruins! A victory over Alabama in round 2 that came down to the final possession with Alabama missing the winning shot. The improbable comeback against Gonzaga in the regional semi-finals. The grind it out win over Memphis in the regional finals. The shockingly easy win over LSU in the national semi-finals. The ride ended in defeat at the hands of the Florida Gators.

The Bruins restored?


Will the hope kindled by that incredible run in that incredible year turn to ashes as two other false starts in the return to glory?

2007 - In round 3, UCLA versus Pittsburgh might look like that football game in round 2 versus Indiana.

Expectations are high but fan is short for fanatic and even the love that Coach Howland has won already is fraying and will be sorely tested if the Bruins fall short tonight.

I've been listening to the Bruins on radio all season long. I've seen one game live and a few on TV. They are a solid team but they don't have the talent to blow people out. The Bruins have lost 5 games this season. One was to a speedy team like Oregon (two near losses were to speedy USC). Two were to hot shooting teams in West Virginia and California. Two were to teams with big guys inside (Stanford and Washington). To be honest, they could have lost many more if it were not for their defense that wears people out. Coach Howland deserves a ton of credit for getting this team to play as a team and to be far more than the sum of its parts.

Here's hoping the Bruins will find a way to win tomorrow to survive and advance.

Go Bruins!


Saturday, March 17, 2007

Sports: Time out Ohio State!

Oh, my!

Xavier is up 6 on Ohio State, 47-41, 9:53 to play. Oden has three fouls!

Without question this would be the biggest upset of the day.

Michigan State beating UNC would be an upset but much more plausible!

UPDATE: OVER-TIME!! Ohio State hits the three with 4 seconds left to tie the game up and send it into overtime! Oden has fouled out. Gus Johnson is doing the play-by-play for CBS and his emotion is reminding me of the Gonzaga-UCLA game in the regional finals last year!

UPDATE: OSU goes on a 7-2 run to start the OT. Has Xavier hit the wall?

UPDATE: Its a final OSU 78 Xavier 71. Almost every National Championship team has the gut check game, is this the one for the Buckeyes?


Sports: Round Two - UCLA vs. Indiana

Am nervous about UCLA vs. IU.

Indiana has a big guy in D.J. White. UCLA relies on Collison, Shipp and Afflalo on the perimeter. Mata, Mbah a Moute and Abboya are serviceable interior players on offense and with their value in their pretty solid defense. Clearly Coach Howland and Bruin fans are hoping they will step up and contain D.J. White.

It would also be nice to get some offensive contributions from the inside (only 11 points out of 70 in the Weber State game) to give the perimeter guys a little extra space to work with. All season long, UCLA faced zones and when the outside shooting was cold, they were in trouble.

Meanwhile, in the rest of the field, I was surprised to see only two double-digit seeds make it to round two. There were no 5/12 upsets. Three of the four 9s won in the 8/9 match-up but those really aren't "upsets" like the wins by VCU and Winthrop which were 11s over 6s.

We shall see if the seeds hold form on Saturday and Sunday.

Games that I think could be really interesting: Michigan State vs. UNC (two top coaches battling it out) and Texas vs. USC (as a UCLA fan and Pac-10 partisan, I have seen USC's athleticism. They have been flying under the radar nationally but this could be their showcase game).

In any case, Go Bruins!

UPDATE: Whew, survive and advance! With a 20-13 half-time score you would think it was a football game. UCLA's bigs came up big with Mbah a Moute snagging 12 rebounds of which 5 were at the offense end. Mata got 8 rebounds and a few key baskets. Westbrook wasn't in much but that fast break dunk was huge! His 4 minutes may not seem like much but that gives Collison some rest so he would have the fresh legs for the frantic finish which included a steal by Collison that sealed the game.

Indiana's D.J. White was a force with 14 rebounds and 4 blocked shots and who knows how many altered shots. But the supporting cast didn't hit some threes until late in the game when Indiana came from double digits down to tying the game.


Religion: Did we get the right Jesus?

A few weeks back, I went to Biola University to hear a free public lecture. The speaker was Prof. Fred Sanders (click and scroll down for bio) and the event was part of the Christian Apologetics program at the school.

Sanders is far from a stuffy humanities professor. He was hilarious! He worked in comic strip images to make some of his points. He also showed some paintings from Art History to give us a flavor for the life and times he was describing.

The premise of his talk was: if you walked into "the Hall of Putative Jesi" how would you know which Jesus is the right one of the dozen or so individuals walking around in that hall claiming to be Jesus?

He mentioned that one approach is to examine the historical reliablity of the Gospel records and that much valuable scholarship is in that realm.

However, for this evening's presentation, he said he would focus on the historical development of our understanding of Jesus.

He said there were seven ancient church councils that met to discuss "who was Jesus?" In the fast paced presentation, he sketched out five of the councils in terms of what was the issue being debated, some of the players on both sides and other historical factors surrounding the council.

To summarize, he described the results of these councils as the "Chalcedonian Box." He believed the "box" provides the fundamental catagories to discuss Jesus and the identifies boundaries for describing what we know about Jesus from the Scriptures.

Sanders described the Council of Nicea (325 AD). The debate was whether Arian, a priest in Alexandria, was right in questioning whether Jesus was fully God, the position long held by the church. Athanasius critiqued Arian's arguements. As a result of this council, the Nicene Creed was drafted with its famous passage that affirmed the divinity of Jesus:
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father.
The next council Prof. Sanders summarized was Constantinople I (381 AD) which addressed Apollinarianism that questioned whether Jesus was fully human. The problem with this view is that would salvation by Jesus' life, death and resurrection be meaningful if he were not fully human?

The third council discussed in the presentation was at Ephesus (431 AD). There the question on the table was Nestorianism which said Jesus was two persons, a divine one and a human one. The council addressed the question and in particular, Cyril of Alexandria described Jesus as the union of two natures in one person.

The fourth council Dr. Sanders explained to the audience was Chalcedon which occurred in 451 AD. The council addressed the issue of Eutychianism held that Jesus had two natures but the human nature was so trivial that it was essentially absorbed within the divine nature. As a non-specialist, this sounded like a subtle variation on Apollinarianism mixed with Nestorianism?

The fifth council Sander's talked about was Constantinople II in 553 AD.

This council pretty summed up all the other councils in affirming there is one God with three persons (Trinity) and that the 2nd person of the Trinity is Jesus Christ who was one person with both a divine and human nature which the Son took on at the Incarnation.

Sanders was refreshingly honest about the fact that it is pretty hard to wrap our minds around all these things. The Incarnation is a statement of faith. It is much easier for us to have simple categories. But what we know from Scriptures points to a Jesus who defies simple categories and that Jesus was fully God, fully human, one person with two natures. We also know from the Bible that Jesus is the Son, the second person of the Trinity. How that actually "works" we don't know but we can attempt to describe it:

The Father is not the Son.
The Father is not the Holy Spirit.
The Son is not the Holy Spirit.
The Father is God.
The Son is God.
The Holy Spirit is God.
3 persons, 1 God.

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All in all a very mind blowing but informative evening.

It is really great to know that there are some theology professors who are energetic, humorous, creative and honest about how mind-blowing somethings are! If I had $1200 laying around, I'd consider taking a theology class with Prof. Sanders!


Thursday, March 15, 2007

Sports: Round One - UCLA vs. Weber State

UCLA fans are nervous. AP has Collison saying he is ready to go despite the ankle injury. Brave talk or is he truly ready to go? We shall see later today!

Bruinsnation is experiencing the emotional whiplash all fans feel about their teams: riding high with unrealistic expectations and brought low thinking all is lost at the slightest bit of bad news.

Clearly, Collison is an important piece to UCLA's chances. Westbrook doesn't appear to be ready to step in like the way Cameron Dollar did in the 1995 championship game against Arkansas but I'm sure he will get many more minutes than usual as long as the game remains under UCLA's control. Additionally, Shipp and Afflalo can handle the ball to some extent. Collison gives the Bruins speed on the break, dribble penetration and quick hands for a steal or two.

Against Weber State the Bruins *should* be able to win even if Collison isn't 100%. But as a Bruin fan, we have seen some spectacular first round collapses by the Bruins so I'm not counting these chicken's before they are hatched. I'll be parked in front of the TV after work hopefully catching the second half of the game.

For those who want to know this page has the history of who UCLA has played in the NCAA basketball tournament.

UCLA was the victim in the 5/12 upset in 1994 and 1999. UCLA lost in the 4/13 upset in 1991 and 1996.


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Sports: Its that time of year - March Madness TTC pick'em contest

Dear Two Tin Can Readers:

Okay, I've created a TwoTinCans Yahoo! Pick'em group contest.

Group ID# 107781
Password: ttc2007

This year's contest with Yahoo! gives you the option of participating to win prizes from HP (including $1,000,000 grand prize) in exchange for your contact information (of course). As an incentive for TTC readers, winner of our group contest wins a small token item from Rene's prize drawer ... woo-hoo!? Don't worry, it won't be a lump of coal?!

As a UCLA alum, I'm picking them to win the whole thing. But when I put on my hard headed analyst hat, I don't think they will win. Florida and Ohio State are looking awfully good right now and UCLA can self-destruct at any moment.

In any case, please feel free to join this group contest and enjoy the next 3 weeks of college basektball along with other TTC readers and all the other group contests you are joining!


UPDATE: Taking a closer look ... the East looks like a monster with (1) UNC (2) GTown (3) Washington State (4) Texas (5) USC. That has to be the strongest 1-5 of any region.

With my West coast bias, I have to go to the South regional and pick (12) Long Beach to beat (5) Tennessee in the annual 5/12 upset. The 49ers can jack up the threes like crazy and so if they get hot, an upset is alway possible.

In the West you got to wonder if the NCAA selection committee wanted the story lines of Ben Howland's UCLA playing the college he played ball at in Weber State. Additionally, if they win that game they could face in the 2nd round (10) Gonzaga which provided one of the most frantic finishes last year. And if UCLA survives that they might meet Pittsburgh in the regional semis which is a team Howland coached before going to UCLA and where Howland's friend and former assistant now is the head coach.

Florida being the #1 seed overall has the easiest path in the Midwestern region. Does anybody really think anybody in this group is going to stop them? Ironically, if I had to pick one team to pull off the upset of the millenium, it would have to be (8) Arizona. If Arizona can get their mind on the game and give 40 minutes they have the right mix of athletes to give Florida a real game. But they have been so inconsistent there is no certainty they will even win their first game against (9) Purdue. In any case, right now the money has to be on Florida.

UPDATE: Dohn reports Collison sprained an ankle in practice today. He is listed as probable for Thursday's game. DRATS!!!!


Friday, March 09, 2007

Sports: Big West Tournament 2007, day 3 and day 4

In the opening game, the Anteaters face Long Beach State. The teams split their regular season meetings in close games. Mark Kelley scored 24 in the last meeting against Long Beach State. Darren Fells left the game against UCSB with an injury but it wasn't clear how serious it was. Also watch for Michael Hunter, the freshman guard from UCI who has been coming on strong as the season progressed. Last year, UCI was the #2 seed facing Long Beach State in the semi-finals and came from behind to take a one-point lead but Long Beach had the final possession and Aaron Nixon hit a three as time expired. Should be an close one again tonight!

UPDATE: Long Beach 77 UCI 63.

In game two, Cal State Fullerton the #3 seed meets up with Cal Poly the #2 seed. The teams split their regular season meetings in high scoring affairs. However, Cal Poly has been on a roll winning 9 of their last 10. Cal Poly is lead in scoring by Derek Stockalper. Whiten and McGinn also average in double digits for the Mustangs. The Titans are a high scoring run and gun team lead by Bobby Brown. Cutley and Robinson grab rebounds and can score as well. Will the Titans be weary from their double-overtime win on Thursday night? Since I'm rooting for the underdog in game #1 tonight, I'll also root for the Titans to pull off the mild upset in game #2.

UPDATE: Cal Poly 81 CSUF 56.

UPDATE: LBSU 94 CP 83. Long Beach faces Tennessee in the NCAA!

UPDATE: Whelliston comments on about the Big West:
What's not surprising in the Big West has been the superb play of preseason favorite Long Beach State, with its balanced scoring attack led by Big West POY Aaron Nixon (18.4 ppg). What has been a surprise has been the rise of Cal Poly, which has won 18 games for the first time since arriving in Division I 13 years ago. The Mustangs fling 3s on one end and pack it defensively on the other, and are led by Derek Stockalper (14.5 ppg), a senior who makes 50 percent of his threebies.
Cal Poly lost their 2 regular season meetings with Long Beach. But in their last meeting, it was a close game with the final score being 80-77. Since that loss, the Mustangs have won 8 in a row. Should be a good game between two teams that aren't afraid to shoot the three.

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

Sports: Big West Tournament 2007, day 2

In the opening game tonight, Cal State Fullerton faces UOP. Basketball is often about which team can force the game into the style they like. Fullerton is a run and gun style team (82.4 pts/game and 1832 shots attempted this season) while Pacific is more deliberate (67.8 pts/game and 1537 shots attempted this season). I'm picking Pacific to pull off the upset tonight.

UPDATE: Titans 100 Tigers 92 (2OT)!!

UC Irvine faces UC Santa Barbara. Neither team is an offensive powerhouse with both teams in the bottom half of the conference in offense. Both teams have the lowest points against as well. Anteaters need to contain Alex Harris and hit their threes to have a chance to win. I've attended three UCI games in the past few years and each time they lost close contests that went into the final minute of the game. I'll be checking the internet tonight to see how they do. Toss up game, but since I went to UCI, I have to pick the Anteaters. What can I say, doh, Homer pick!

UPDATE: UCI 28 UCSB 18 at the half. Anteaters cruise to a surprisingly easy win 70-52. Alex Harris of UCSB got 22 points but many came when UCI had built a huge lead. No one else on the Gauchos scored in double figures.

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Life: Life in the Big City

Went to a neighborhood meeting to discuss crime.

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Our guest was one of the lead officers from the LAPD division that covers our area. The approximate coverage area: Santa Monica Freeway to the south, Beverly Blvd. to the north, La Cienega Blvd to the west and Normandie Ave. to the east. The population in this patrol area is probably larger than many cities in the rest of the USA.

He acknowledged there is the planned number of cops to cover that beat and the reality of being short-handed. As such, good coordination between ground units and the helicopters is crucial. He also mentioned their careful observation of crime trends so they can deploy their limited resources to regions within the division area.

Another problem is that most police officers in our part of Los Angeles do not live there because they can't afford to. Thus, most commute in great distances and do 12-hour shifts three days a week. Ideally in community policing approaches, the cops would be on the beat most days of the week and become known individuals to the neighborhood.

I also found out that when you use the cell phone to call 911 in our neighborhood it will likely be routed to the California Highway Patrol! Thus, one has to clearly state what city before going any further in stating the nature of the emergency so they can connect the caller to the right place.

He reminded us that 911 is often overloaded on weekends when crime is highest. If that is the case, he advised we call the LAPD division office directly.


Sports: Big West Tournament 2007, day 1

#5 seed UC Irvine Anteaters rallied from 18 down to avoid the upset by #8 seed UC Riverside Highlanders and win 53-52! UC Irvine faces UC Santa Barbara tomorrow night! Go 'Eaters, zot, zot, zot!

Cal State Northridge Matadors (6) played University of Pacific Tigers (7) in the 2nd game of day one at the Big West Tournament. Pacific easily won 71-54.

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Sports: Big West Tournament 2007, preview

Image source:

The BWT starts Wednesday.

Last year, I blogged quite a bit about it because I went to a number of the games. Alas, I'm not going this year as the prospects for my Anteaters are poor compared to last year. I will still follow along via the internet!

Kyle Whelliston covers the mid-majors for Perhaps, he will have a preview for the Big West Tournament in the next day or two.

In the meantime, I hope this little summary will tide you over until Whelliston puts something out there and while you continue to scour basketball boards for any tidbit about the Big West.

#1 Seed - Long Beach
The clear favorites. They clinched the regular season title before the final weekend and finished with a 12-2 record in conference well ahead of Cal Poly's 9-5 mark. The key players to watch on the 49ers are Aaron Nixon (Big West Player of the Year) and Kejuan Johnson. The team is not shy about putting up the three-pointer. The team averages 10.3 made 3-pts per game and 86.4 pts per game.

#2 Seed - Cal Poly
They too aren't shy about putting up the three making 10 per game. The Mustangs are on a seven-game winning streak. Will they get to face the 49ers on Saturday for the NCAA bid? They lost both regular season meetings against Long Beach. Player to watch: Derek Stockalper.

#3 Seed - Cal State Fullerton
A run and gun team that I saw give UCLA trouble for about 2/3 of the game. The Titan's star is Bobby Brown averaging 20 points a game. They started the season off strong but have been slumping having lost 5 of their last 8.

#4 Seed - UC Santa Barbara
The Gauchos are on a three-game winning streak and have the conference stingiest defense giving up only 68.6 points a game. Their star is conference scoring champ Alex Harris who averaged 21 points a game.

#5 Seed - UC Irvine
The Anteaters have been erratic all season. Their longest win streak was only three games. Yet, they are one of two teams in conference to beat #1 seed Long Beach. In their second meeting against the 49ers, they got the lead then gave it up and then almost made the comeback. This same team struggled in two wins over #8 seed UC Riverside. Darren Fells gives them some inside presence and Adam Templeton and Nic Campbell launch the threes.

#6 Seed Cal State Northridge
The Matadors are the other team besides the Anteaters to beat Long Beach. But they too have been erratic all season managing just two three-game win streaks. They have played .500 ball in their last eight games after a mid-season 4-game losing streak. They split the regular season meetings against #7 seed Pacific. Player to watch: Jonathan Heard.

#7 Seed - University of Pacific
The UOP Tigers have had a terrible season after dominating the Big West the last few years. They are currently on a 4-game losing streak. Player to watch: forward Anthony Brown.

#8 Seed - UC Riverside
The Highlanders have had a difficult season. One of their players was killed in an auto accident before the season and their coach took a medical leave of absence. They went 1-13 in conference and 7-23 overall. They did play the Anteaters very close in their two regular season meetings. Player to watch: Larry Cunningham.

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Monday, March 05, 2007

News: The Jesus Family Tomb Documentary

Greg Koukl of Stand to Reason has written a piece you should check out if you really want a very quick overview of the controversy. In particular, he calls to task some of the head-in-the-sand, knee-jerk (am I using contradictory mixed-metaphors here?) responses from some in Christian circles. He then uses his usual "Dragnet" "nothing but the facts" approach.


Thursday, March 01, 2007

Sports: Rip 'Em Eaters Zot Zot Zot

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No, it isn't the Luxor hotel in Las Vegas. It is the Walter Pyramid, the sports arena in Long Beach.

I'm using the internet (streaming audio via KUCI 88.9FM) to keep track of UC Irvine vs. Long Beach State!

Long Beach State has clinched the regular season title for the Big West so they have a ticket to the NIT but their dreams are larger.

I'll be curious to see if the coach plays more of his backups to give their stars some rest.
UPDATE: Nope, Aaron Nixon is lighting it up. Long Beach is up 7 with 2 minutes to go.
UPDATE: UCI hits the 3 to cut the lead to three. Long Beach has the ball with just 35 seconds left.
UPDATE: UCI presses the inbound pass but they get it in and UCI fouls. LBSU gets both free throws and UCI turns it over taking it into the front court. That might be all she wrote. UCI fouls and sends LBSU to the line with a 5 point lead.
UPDATE: Its a final... LBSU 85 UCI 80.

The Anteater's goal is to improve so they can pull off the inside straight of winning 4 games in the conference tourney to get their first NCAA ticket. They would also like win so they can finish 5th in the Big West so they can face the hapless #8 seed UC Riverside.

Meanwhile, I'll also check the radio to see how UCLA is faring against WSU.
UPDATE: It is nervous time ... UCLA 49 WSU 45 with 2:27 left!
UPDATE: 1:30, UCLA running down the clock... they don't get a good shot with the shot clock gone ... Ick!
UPDATE: WSU shoot and miss. WSU has to foul. Shipp to the line in the 1 and 1.
UPDATE: Shipp gets them both, UCLA 51 WSU 45, 28 seconds left.
UPDATE: Shipp fouled again. UCLA 53 WSU 45, 13 seconds left.
UPDATE: WSU missed and UCLA rebounds and WSU opts not to foul.
Its a final UCLA 53 WSU 45.
UCLA is the Pac10 regular season champs!!