It was another brilliant performance for UCLA as the Bruins locked up their third straight trip to the Final Four.
Think about the job Ben Howland has done in Westwood. Then again, he was outstanding at Northern Arizona and Pittsburgh before taking over the Bruins program.
UCLA is incredible on both ends of the court. The perimeter defense against Xavier was outstanding as the Muskeeteers struggled shooting the trifecta. The Bruins can take advantage of turnovers and convert them into transition points. Russell Westbrook was brilliant in that area.
Darren Collison has terrific skills penetrating and scoring. He is also capable of drawing a defender and dishing to a teammate for an easy score.
Luc Richard MBah Moute set the tone early on the glass. He also converted off rebounds, providing the Bruins with an additional offensive weapon.
The key to UCLA has been the play of the brilliant diaper dandy, Kevin Love. He can hurt you in so many ways -- scoring, rebounding, throwing the incredible outlet pass, shooting the three-pointer, playing defense. My friends, he is super, scintillating and sensational.
Love was one reason that Xavier's Josh Duncan was held in check in the first half. Duncan was averaging over 20 ppg. in the big dance, but had just two points at halftime against the Bruins. UCLA entered intermission with a nine-point lead and momentum on its side.
It was a great season for the A-10 regular-season champion Musketeers. Sean Miller is a hot name in the coaching profession, the flavor of the month. His Xavier team did not have enough to counteract the Bruins.
Wow, UCLA has a school-record 35 Ws. Now it is off to San Antonio and the Bruins fans would love to add another banner in Pauley.
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.