LOS ANGELES — The rating was misleading Thursday night time. UCLA’s 92-70 victory over Stanford didn’t essentially sign that each one is properly at Pauley Pavilion, or that uncoupling Steve Alford would remedy all and even most of their points.
However there was this: The introduced crowd of eight,026, reacting to the Bruins’ personal emotion of their first recreation beneath interim coach Murry Bartow, fed off that emotion and created some power of their very own.
This was, briefly, not the UCLA fan base that has been stereotyped over the many years, the older Picket-era alumni with their arms folded ready for good issues to occur earlier than they might cheer.
Then once more, 50ish UCLA alumni lately in all probability have been in class when Larry Farmer or Walt Hazzard patroled the sideline. In different phrases, they need to be accustomed to tempered expectations by now, though we all know that’s not often the case.
Bartow Era II at UCLA started with an emphasis on work. Monday the world discovered that Alford was gone and Bartow – the son of Gene Bartow, John Picket’s preliminary successor – would turn out to be the interim coach. That day was emotional for everybody across the program, however the brand new coach and his group channeled that into two-a-day practices Tuesday and Wednesday, benefiting from the very fact the winter educational quarter has but to start.
It was crucial. If it weren’t for the start of faculty Monday there could be extra of these double-sessions, as a result of, as was painfully evident in the course of the four-game dropping streak that value Alford his job, these guys want to be coached up excess of they’ve been to this level.
“It’s a balancing act,” Bartow stated. “You need recent legs, so that you don’t need to kill ’em. On the similar time, I felt we would have liked a lot of labor. We would have liked to do a lot of issues. We tried to tweak a factor right here or there, however we simply want a lot of follow time.
“One of our players after the game asked me if we were going to tape (ankles on Friday). I looked at him like he was nuts. Yeah, we’re gonna tape. I know we’ve got Cal at 1 o’clock Saturday, but we’ve got a lot of work to do.”
Elementary breakdowns have been a massive issue within the dropping streak, which included embarrassing home-court failures towards mid-majors Belmont and Liberty. The primary rule: It doesn’t matter what these groups’ data or metrics say. In case you’re UCLA, you don’t lose to Belmont and Liberty at residence. Case closed.
The Bruins have been ragged towards a Stanford group that’s younger (9 freshmen and sophomores amongst their first 12) and seems the half. There have been the highlight-reel performs: the dunks and the spectacular drives to the basket. However there have been fast photographs and defensive breakdowns – together with a lot of wide-open Three-point makes an attempt for Stanford shooters within the corners, for instance – main to a sense that at this level these Bruins depend upon athleticism and not a lot else.
However effort, emotion and power labored for them towards Stanford. And the followers, in all probability together with most of the similar ones who booed them off the ground after the 73-58 Liberty debacle, acknowledged it.
“We didn’t come out with the energy we were supposed to have last time,” freshman middle Moses Brown stated. “We didn’t come out like a team. We felt like that’s the way they (should) react because we didn’t come out how we’re supposed to play. But we got right back to it.”
There weren’t any main systemic modifications, although the Bruins didn’t run a lot of units, tried to quicken the tempo and utilized extra backcourt strain than regular, which helped. There in all probability gained’t be rather more than tweaking going ahead, both. It’s not the scheme, Bartow feels, however the execution.
“Everything we were doing was all structurally good stuff,” Bartow stated. “Steve’s a great coach, a heck of a coach. Nothing that we were doing structurally wasn’t right. We’ve just been struggling, turning it over too much. We had 24 turnovers last game and we had 12 tonight; we played faster and had (fewer) turnovers. We were more efficient.”
Bartow had his personal emotional maelstrom to cope with Thursday night time, not solely as a result of his good good friend had been fired however as a result of his debut as interim head coach was the seventh anniversary of his father’s passing.
“He was a great coach,” Murry Bartow stated of Gene. “But the best thing about my dad is he was an incredible people person. My biggest takeaway was how he treated people, anybody he came in contact with. I hope I got some of that from him in terms of the way I try to deal with guys (and) treat people the right way.”
Because the caretaker of this legendary program, a part of the youthful Bartow’s job can be to tune out the chatter about a everlasting alternative that may swirl round him the remainder of the season. It’s already gone into some fascinating areas.
Dick Vitale stumped for Rick Pitino in a tweet earlier this week (and, for what it’s value, Pitino’s autobiography is on sale on the UCLA bookstore). And commentator and Bruins alum Invoice Walton was requested by play-by-play man Dave Pasch on Thursday night time’s ESPN broadcast what sort of traits UCLA must be on the lookout for in its subsequent coach.
“Barack Obama,” Walton replied.
That ought to get the dialog off to a rousing start.
@Jim_Alexander on Twitter