UCLA out-numbered at Wooden Classic

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It’s no secret that UCLA is facing some tough times.

After last seasons’ debacle and this season beginning with Shabazz Muhammad’s eligibility dispute, a loss at home to Cal Poly and Tyler Lamb, THEN Josh Smith leaving the program, it’s safe to say that even with a top-rated recruiting class, the Bruins have essentially picked up where they left off.

Well Bill Dwyre of the L.A. Times writes a piece that doesn’t help. Looks like UCLA was even out-supported by San Diego State in, of all events, the Wooden Classic.

Not only was the winner the other guys, a San Diego State team that, while recently very good, has never had, nor even pondered having, a UCLA swagger. But this game that was played in Anaheim, in UCLA’s metro area and the site of four victories and no defeats last season as the Bruins floated from one borrowed home to another while Pauley Pavilion was being renovated, was called the Wooden Classic. The name alone makes it UCLA’s house. Teams in other uniforms are visitors, no matter how short the drive.

And then, San Diego State, both team and fans, stormed the gates and captured the fort.

The game was a 78-69 victory for the Aztecs, and no one should be surprised. Steve Fisher’s bunch is long, athletic and ready to make a prime push for a deep NCAA Tournament run behind Mountain West preseason Player of the Year Jamaal Franklin.

But UCLA fans, at least in their hey-day, traveled insanely well. Almost to Kentucky basketball numbers. They won and they made sure you heard about it afterward.

There’s definitely a stigma that comes with losing, and a majority of fanbases feel it. No one wants to travel to a game that no one thinks their team will win.

This one though, is on Howland. He’s a has way too much going on within this program. Some thought that purging a few players off a few bad teams might help, and that verdict is still out. But regardless, if the fans stop showing up, that is the first sign that a coach could be on his way out. Money makes everything go in major college sports.

No wins? No fans. No fans? No money. No money? No big contracts. And even more importantly, no job.

David Harten is the editor of The Backboard Chronicles. You can follow him on Twitter at @David_Harten.

Four conferences sign on to basketball officiating alliance

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GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Four more Division I conferences will join a men’s basketball officiating alliance formed last year by the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Big East, the Atlantic 10 and Colonial Athletic Association.

The Big South, the Ivy League, the Northeast and the Patriot League are joining ahead of the 2017-18 season, according to announcements from the leagues Thursday. The alliance launched last summer for conferences to work together on officiating matters and enhance training, development, recruitment, retention and feedback for officials.

John Cahill, the Big East’s supervisor of officials, and Bryan Kersey, the ACC’s coordinator of men’s basketball officiating, will continue to lead the alliance operations.

ACC commissioner John Swofford says the new additions to the alliance “provide an even greater opportunity to build chemistry and quality” across the officiating ranks.

North Carolina to unveil national championship banner in October

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The latest addition to the rafters of the Dean Dome will be unveiled this fall.

North Carolina will raise the banner for its 2017 national championship on Oct. 13, according to a report from Inside Carolina.

The event will coincide with the Tar Heels’ “Late Night With Roy” event that marks the public start to the season for the program and also serves, like many other top programs, as a recruiting tool.

North Carolina won its sixth NCAA national championship in April by defeating Gonzaga, 71-65, in Phoenix to avenge its last-second loss in the title game to Villanova the year prior. It was the Tar Heels’ first championship since 2009.

VIDEO: Zion Williamson vs. LaMelo Ball highlights

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It was the most anticipated matchup of the summer.

Zion Williamson vs. LaMelo Ball.

People were turned away at the door – and LeBron James reportedly came and went – as the gym reached capacity for SC Supreme’s 104-92 victory over the Big Ballers. That’s Williamson over Ball (LaMelo and LaVar).

The game was mostly spectacle, and you can see it’s top moments right here.

 

VIDEO: Zion Williamson’s coach is holding a sleeping baby

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LaMelo Ball vs. Zion Williamson was insane, but it wasn’t quite crazy enough to wake up the sleeping toddler that Williamson’s coach is holding in his arms:

This is peak AAU basketball.

It will never be more AAU than that.

PHOTOS: Zion Williamson, LaMelo Ball showdown was, of course, insane

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In a showcase game in the adidas Uprising event in Las Vegas on Wednesday night, LaMelo Ball — the youngest member of the Big Baller Brand — faced off with Zion Williamson, who is a force on youtube and a highlight machine.

The crowd was insane for the game:

According to a report from ESPN, there were even concerns about whether or not the game would actually be allowed to be played; the police and fire marshall considered shutting the event down.

Williamson, of course, put on a show in warmups:

At the time of this posting, there were more than 60,000 people watching a livestream of the game on BallIsLife’s facebook page:

(UPDATE: It’s now over 70,000)