fleashabazzmuhammad

Flea Shabazz Muhammad!

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John Calipari has Jay-Z, now Ben Howland has Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Well, he doesn’t exactly “have” Flea, but he can stand near Flea while the bassist wears his homemade “Free Shabazz Muhammad” t-shirt. Students in the crowd were reportedly wearing more professional-quality shirts with the same message, but isn’t it just so much more Flea to scribble on a shirt with magic marker before playing the national anthem in Pauley Pavilion? Way to make an entrance.

Fortunately for those assembled, Flea also wore pants, and socks. On the appropriate appendages this time. (I’m not linking it, this is a family site, but you know what I mean.)

USA Today found the first photos of Flea in action, posting them at 5:00 a.m. this morning, alongside a short article.

The UCLA faithful are anxiously waiting to see prized recruit Shabazz Muhammad hit the court.

Bruins fans will have to wait longer after the NCAA ruled the freshman ineligible for Friday night’s opener earlier in the day.

Apparently among the fans pining for a glimpse of Muhammad is rock musician Flea. The Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist was on hand to play the national anthem before the Bruins faced Indiana State at newly renovated Pauley Pavilion.

Flea displayed a message for the NCAA on his T-shirt, which read “Free Shabazz Muhammad.”

Muhammad, the prized recruit in a UCLA class that many ranked No. 1 in the nation, was declared ineligible for an undisclosed number of games after the NCAA determined he “accepted travel and lodging during three unofficial visits” to two schools during his recruitment.

Flea’s motives for the shirt are unclear, but he wouldn’t be the only person upset by the NCAA’s ruling.

What’s next? John Cougar Mellencamp wearing a “Free Peter Jurkin” tee?

Oh no, on second thought, that wouldn’t be a good idea at all.

Eric Angevine is the editor of Storming the Floor. He tweets @stfhoops.

Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
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Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: