March 22, 2007
The teacher beat the student Thursday night. Ben Howland's UCLA Bruins got past Jamie Dixon's Pittsburgh Panthers, 64-55.
Let me tell you, UCLA plays tremendous defense, clamping down on their opponents. Go ask the first three opponents in the NCAA tourney as the Panthers had the most points of that trio.
Arron Afflalo bounced back from a rough outing against Indiana. Josh Shipp was able to score on the wing and inside. I was really impressed with the contribution of Lorenzo Mata inside as he fell a bit short of a double-double. Darren Collison did a great job distributing the rock and making his free throws.
It was tough for the Panthers, a program that has run into the brick wall when it comes to the Sweet 16. This is the fourth time since 2002 that Pittsburgh has made it this far, only to lose before making the Elite Eight. In fact, the last time the Panthers made the Elite Eight was 1974. It was also tough to play in California.
UCLA was able to win despite the fact Mata and Luc Richard Mbah Moute each had two early fouls.
Now the Bruins take on Kansas on Saturday for a spot in the Final Four in Atlanta. That 1 vs. 2 match-up should be special as the Jayhawks go against that tough UCLA defense.
Dick Vitale coached the Pistons and the University of Detroit before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in December 1979. Send him a question for possible use on ESPNEWS.