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Bruins lose to 3-7 Washington?

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How does UCLA celebrate winning a tough game against the Washington State Cougars? By tanking it against the Washington Huskies.

The Bruins played a tight game with the Cougars Thursday night eventually clamping down on in the last 10 minutes of the second half to go on to a 67-59 win. Even though the Cougars had lost their last two games against Stanford and Cal, they are still a tough team. On Wednesday night however the Bruins played their typical game of tough defense, superb ball movement and breathtaking offense. They would not be denied.

So I’m feeling good about things, getting saucy during the Lakers-Miami game Sunday and completely missed the UCLA-Washington game that night. I figured it was much ado about nothing until I caught the highlights on SportsCenter.

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And then I remembered that the Bruins have never won at Washington with Ben Howland as the head coach. It doesn’t matter how good or bad the Bruins are, the Huskies always seem to make them look like chumps. Guard Darren Collison was 1-8 with a season low three points, and Alfred Aboya got a ball in his face.

It was that ugly. The Bruins fell 71-61.

Now I can hear the cries of Bruin Nation, especially CBS 2 and KLAC 570 AM host Steve Hartman's. "Oh the Bruins will not go deep in the Tournament if they play like this," they all scream out.

Come on. As the Bruins proved last year when they reached the Final Four after being upset in the first round of the Pac-10 tournament, they will turn it up full throttle when it counts. Also good teams do occasionally lose to bad teams on the road. It's one little bump in the road, nothing more.

Even with that loss the Bruins dropped only two spots in the coaches poll and one spot in the AP poll to #6 in the country. So if the writers and coaches aren't worried about them, why should I? I am still going with my prediction that they will be the National Champions come early April.

Now this weekend they have a rematch against USC at the Galen Center who beat them several weeks ago 72-63 at Pauley Pavilion. I can almost guarantee that Coach Howland will not let the team be as lackluster as they were against the Huskies. So don't panic, never fear. Everything will be all right.

AP Photo by Ted S. Warren

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