UCLA vs. Texas: A Running Diary

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Dec 8, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Texas Longhorns forward Jonathan Holmes (10) attempts to drive the ball around UCLA Bruins guard Larry Drew II (10) during the first half at Reliant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

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As good Will Hunting points out in this clip, there are few things worse in life than being unoriginal. And that’s especially true when it comes to writing, and that’s why I’ve always taken pride in coming up with my own stories, my own perspectives, and my own points of view.

But for once, I’m going to go against my beliefs and sacrifice that pride.

Bill Simmons is one of the most successful sports writers ever, and he has introduced insights and ideas that have not only become part of pop culture, but have revolutionized the way sports are covered. One of those is the running diary. And as with most great ideas, the brilliance is in its simplicity—sit there, watch something, and write down your thoughts.

Ever since I read his NBA Draft diary, I’ve thought it was a great way for an outsider, a fan, to offer commentary on something that’s typically reserved for the so-called experts. A part of me has wanted to try it for a long time, and I’m finally going to do it for today’s Longhorn game.

It’s important to note that I am not a coach, nor have I played basketball at a level higher than “Six Feet and Under” intramurals, so I cannot offer in-depth analysis on ball screens, flex offenses, and match-up zones. What I can offer, though, is the perspective of an unhealthily obsessed, slightly irrational fan who cares way too much about his team…

Just a few minutes from the tip of Texas vs. UCLA in Houston. The last time the Horns were in Reliant Stadium, they got blown out against Derrick Rose’s Memphis squad in the 2008 NCAA regional final. Good times.

Outside of star recruit Shabazz Muhammud, I don’t know anything about UCLA. I know that a power outage in the arena—and its subsequent 15 minute delay—helped Texas rally past the Bruins 69-59 last year in L.A. A quick check of the 2012 Rivals 150 shows that the Bruins signed two of the top three prospects in the country—Muhammud and Kyle Anderson—along with two others—Tony Parker and Jordan Adams—who were ranked in the top 65. This is not what I was hoping to find.

Dan Shulman and Dick Vitale are on the call for ESPN, and they quickly inform us that UCLA, like Texas, has struggled to a 5-3 record, which includes a home loss to Cal Poly (comparable to Texas’ loss to Chaminade). Maybe there is hope after all.

Shulman then throws it to sideline reporter Kaylee Hartung, who gives the obligatory summary about both the Jaylen Bond injury, and the Myck Kabongo NCAA fiasco. In reading different reports, it sounds like Kabongo may have withheld information or possibly lied in his early meetings with investigators, and that’s what’s causing the delay. Still, it’s hilarious that the NCAA was able to decide that Kabongo should no longer travel to road games, but they can’t hand down an actual ruling. I can’t wait until the Horns get back home, so I can see Myck sitting on the bench again in his Sunday best.


20:00    Two young, inexperienced teams. UCLA starts three freshmen, Texas starts two. At least, they do today. Out first for the Horns are Javan Felix, Julien “Juice” Lewis, Sheldon McClellan (welcome back to the starting five), Jonathan Holmes, and Cameron Ridley.