Bruins head to Final Four
Published Mar 30, 2008 1:45 PM
This story updated April 2.
UCLA freshman center Kevin Love has a full day of classes every Monday, but he hopes to miss them all next week. Just don't tell his mother his mind is on something other than his education.
"We're playing the biggest game of our lives on Saturday," Love told a roomful of reporters on Tuesday, referencing the Bruins Final Four date with the Memphis Tigers. "My mom would hate for me to say it, but Saturday is our (top) priority right now."
If UCLA survives Memphis on Saturday, they'll face the winner of the North Carolina-Kansas game Monday night.
The Bruins have advanced to their third straight Final Four, which Head Coach Ben Howland acknowledged makes for some valuable experience. But he emphasized that the meeting with Memphis will be a "tremendously tough game." No matter what happens, though, he considers the season, which includes a school record 35 wins to date and a third consecutive Pacific 10 title a success, while dismissing the pronouncements that anything less than a national championship will be disappointing.
Some prognosticators believe the Bruins are the most vulnerable of the number-one seeds. After all, the Bruins eked out a two-point victory over Texas A&M, and allowed Western Kentucky to pull within four points late in the second half.
But these Bruins have a flair for the unexpected. After two games that Coach Ben Howland termed "exciting" — as in a little too exciting — the Bruins cruised to victory against Xavier in the Elite Eight, 76-57.
The victory earned them the first berth in the Final Four, 2008 edition, where the other number one seeds will be joining them. Next stop, San Antonio.
Photos: (Top) Kevin Love; (Right) Russell Westbrook (0) dunks against Xavier during the first half of their NCAA men's basketball tournament West Regional final. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)