Big Boy College Basketball is Finally Here!
March Madness has arrived. We have been waiting, and waiting, but now the
wait is over. 64 teams have been analyzed, scrutinized, and selected to play in this tournament. Undefeated Kentucky, with a record of 40-0 is the odds on favorite to win the NCAA Championship this year. However, the favorites don’t always win, and in the words of former NFL head coach Herm Edwards, “That is why they play the game.”
UCLA – They are Southern California’s only hope. They do not have a bad team, but neither is it a great one. They also had a very bad break when they were scheduled to play against SMU. The Mustang win-loss record is 24-6. That is pretty good, but it is not scary. What is scary is the fact that the Mustangs are coached by Larry Brown. Some of you may not remember who he is, and what he has done. He is a master coach, and he is almost unbeatable in big games.
Consider that he started his coaching career in 1972. Since that time, he has coached in every league in the universe. That includes stints in the ABA, NBA, and the NCAA. He has paid a fortune to moving companies. In his illustrious career, he has led 8 different NBA teams to the Playoffs. He won the NCAA Championship in 1988 and the NBA Championship with the Detroit Pistons in 2004.
Getting back to UCLA, of course he coached there. In 1979, he led the Bruins to the NCAA Title Game, which he lost to Louisville. After that loss, he continued to do what he has always done, he just keeps moving. He also keeps winning, because he is an incredible coach.
Unbelievably, he is now the head basketball coach for the SMU Mustangs. It seems like an unlikely place for him, but there he is. He has been there for three years. Prior to that, SMU had not been in an NCAA Tournament since 1993. Like USC, they had little hope of ever appearing in one. This was the perfect spot for Larry Brown.
There is a projection in the Los Angeles Times that UCLA will beat SMU. That is entirely possible, but in my view, it is highly unlikely. When it comes to basketball games, Larry Brown is a proven winner, and I fully expect him to take his team deep into the tournament. When Larry Brown left UCLA, they never expected to see him again. They should’ve been so lucky!
The New Southern California Stadium, which will be built in Inglewood, does not need an NFL team for it to be proﬁtable. Of course they expect to have the Rams moved back to this area, but in my opinion, they could still be busy and probable place without them. There are many activities in this area that could use that stadium. They could have soccer games there, and also hockey, boxing, basketball, X-Games, award shows, and conventions. It could be busy with multiple opportunities practically every day of the year. Once it is built, the owners of NFL teams, will line up, with hat in hand, and beg for the opportunity to play there.