Cal State Northridge v UCLA

UCLA out-numbered at Wooden Classic


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.

Colorado’s Tory Miller reprimanded by Pac-12 after biting opponent

Dusan Ristic, Tory Miller
AP Photo
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Colorado sophomore forward Tory Miller has been reprimanded by the Pac-12 and he also apologized for biting Air Force’s Hayden Graham earlier this week.

During Colorado’s win over Air Force on Wednesday, Miller was assessed a Flagrant 2 Dead Ball Technical Foul and ejected with 12:25 left in the second half after biting Graham during a loose ball.

In a release from the Pac-12, they announced reprimanding Miller, but he will not be suspended.

“All of our student-athletes must adhere to the Pac-12’s Standards of Conduct and Sportsman-ship,” Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said in the release. “Regardless of Mr. Miller’s frustration and emotion, such behavior is unacceptable and he is being appropriately reprimanded.”

Miller also released his apology in the same release.

“I would like to apologize for my actions during the Air Force game. I would like to apologize to Hayden Graham, Air Force, my teammates and fans. It was a heat of the moment thing. I’m an emotional player, but I let my emotions get the best of me. I will use this as a learning experience and focus on helping my teammates and respecting my opponents for the rest of the season and beyond,” Miller said.

For Miller to not be suspended for this is good news for him and Colorado since he won’t miss any additional action, but did the Pac-12 make the right decision on this?


Michigan State’s Tum Tum Nairn battling foot injury

Lourawls Nairn Jr.
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Michigan State has climbed on the back of star senior wing Denzel Valentine early in the season but they’ll undoubtedly need more help as the season goes on if they want to sustain their current top-5 ranking. One of the keys to the Spartans could be the on-going health of sophomore point guard Lourawls ‘Tum Tum’ Nairn, who is battling a foot injury.

According to a report from Kyle Austin of, Nairn has been putting on a protective boot the last few months to help battle plantar fasciitis as the guard has been playing in practices and hasn’t had his minutes reduced in games.

The injury looked like it was hurting Nairn’s early-season play, but he’s been very good in two games at the Wooden Legacy in California this week, so it could be that he’s getting more used to playing through the pain of the injury.

If Nairn is healthy and capable of contributing, he’s a huge boost to Michigan State because he’s one of the fastest players in college basketball and an additional ball handler on the floor. Through six games so far this season, Nairn is averaging 5.3 points and 4.7 assists per game as he’s been one of the team’s best distributors.

Plantar fasciitis can be a tough injury to fight through, so we’ll have to see if this affects Nairn as the season goes along.