Home > Uncategorized > Day 3 At The Pac-10 Men’s Basketball Tournament: And The Band Played On. And on. And On, And On. And On. … OK, We Have To Leave Now

Day 3 At The Pac-10 Men’s Basketball Tournament: And The Band Played On. And on. And On, And On. And On. … OK, We Have To Leave Now

Me and my friend Matt posing with some of the UCLA squad. I'm still not sure why I approached Bruin mascot and asked, "How are you, sir?" Why I am trying to be so formal with a guy in a bear suit???

Friday’s semifinal round of the Pac-10 Tournament wasn’t exactly filled with excitement. Maybe lined. Better yet, sprinkled. But certainly not filled. Case in point: The most entertaining action of the night came after all the basketball was done.

I’ve always been taught to get to sporting events early and stay until the ushers start pressing you to get going. The more time spent at the stadium the better, right? But we just couldn’t leave on Friday. After Washington finished thrashing Stanford, each school’s band routinely played their fight songs, alma mater and chants. It was pretty obvious they were trying to play louder than each other from opposite baselines. The playing went on for a few minutes. It would subside soon, I thought.

It didn’t.

The bands kept playing. When one stopped, the other would burst right into tune. It became a series of musical one-upmanship. Let’s see who can play the longest. The first one to pass out loses.

They kept going and 10 minutes in, now it was getting out of control for as much as how 40 pale band nerds can get out of control. Stanford’s band began to spread like roaches from light. A couple of trombone players made their way the stairs to the second deck. The flutes took base in the wheelchair section to the left. Others played as they walked through aisle by vacant aisle.

Of course, Washington followed suit and started to disperse. As its band was on our side of the court, we tried to get their attention to come play around us. But they were locked in. Screw winning and losing. A new game had formed. The Huskies were in a fight for pride and the Cardinal weren’t giving an inch — or a note. Fifteen minutes after the game had ended, the only people left in the building were our party of three, security guards, ushers telling us to leave and two college bands spread out from the floor to the rafters. Just playing. Anything. Just make a sound. Prolong the battle. It was one major geeky jam session all over Staples Center. The NCAA rendition of “In-Da-Gadda-Da-Vida”. I guess it’s appropriate that the Stanford Tree mascot never stopped dancing. He was feeling the colors, man.

When we finally left, both bands were still going strong. I felt bad that we couldn’t stick around and give the bands a deserved round of applause, but the ushers were complaining about wanting to go home or something insignificant. And who knows when the music would stop? Maybe it never did. Maybe Stanford will take the place of California’s band in Saturday’s final. Stanford’s kids have end-of-quarter exams next week, but who cares? They go to Stanford; they’re plenty smart already. They need to settle this score!

Now that I’ve covered the after party, here is what happened before and during Friday’s action:

  • This day was just one big mess for me. It was one thing for the games to be sub-par and for the teams that I wanted to win do otherwise. Five minutes before the first game of the night, we were told that the retractable bleachers behind us needed to be pulled out so people could sit there. One problem: Those bleachers make that handicapped section inaccessible to the handicapped. Smooth. For the second time in as many days, we were uprooted from our seats because of these stupid bleachers. There are 5,000 other empty seats in the damn stadium. Go sit there!
  • The late notice caused us to miss the first few minutes of the UCLA-California game and when they did re-seat us, they gave us a spot much closer to the court but behind the basket, which you can see below. I like sitting with the enthused crowd, but there is no more annoying seat in any basketball arena than those behind the basket. Some love it, but it’s an obstructed view. It’s gives you no sense of depth toward the other end of the floor and you have to keep moving your head around to see the action. I’d much rather sit up in the nose-bleeds.
  • Then, somehow, my camera ran out of battery. I charged it in the morning, but apparently not enough. It crapped out during the first half of the UCLA game. Thus, I couldn’t get any pictures of the Bruin-Golden Bear mascot dance-off or of the 76 Gasoline mascot. It is what you think it is. A mascot designed as a 76 pump. I got a photo of it from the 2009 tournament, but I wanted a new one. I want it! I want it!

I guess these seats would be an upgrade for some people, but they bugged the hell out of me

  • UCLA carried over its solid showing against Arizona into the first 20 minutes against the Golden Bears. The Bruins shot more 55 percent in the first half and played decent defense. They led by as much as nine late in that half and went to the break ahead by four. But California crushed them in the second half. They drove through the lane with ease, got a ton of easy layups and just looked a step quicker. Cal took over and won, 85-72.
  • I’ll be rooting hard against California on Saturday. Not because it beat UCLA or anything about its players. I just want Cal to lose because of one fan. One overzealous, pesky, stupid, obnoxious fan. He is a Cal student who sat a few rows in front of us during the game. Sure, he was drunk by tip-off, but that doesn’t give him an excuse for acting as if the world ended every time a call went against the Bears. He looked like a decapitated chicken whenever UCLA scored any basket, jumping over his chair and flailing about. And if the Bruins hit a 3-pointer, forget about it. He was sprawled out on the ground. He is one of those kids who looks like the least athletic person at the university, so he makes up for it by being the most over-the-top fan possible. Taunting after every Cal basket. Pointing to the sky with every UCLA foul. I would just love to see him in a moment of depression. Sometimes, it feels really good to see the loudmouth do nothing but be quiet.

A shot from last season of the 76 mascot. It makes the Stanford Tree look dignified

  • I said in my last post that I wasn’t sure how Stanford could keep up with Washington. I got the answer that they couldn’t keep up very early in Friday’s second game. The Huskies missed at least six legitimate layups and shot 28 percent in the first half. Yet at the end of that half, they still had a healthy 28-19 advantage. Washington was simply too long and too fast for Stanford. The Huskies ruled the Cardinal on the glass and bullied them with blocks. You got the feeling that they were just playing around with Stanford. They got a little more serious in the second half and gained that 20-point lead that seemed inevitable after about three minutes of playing time. For the final few, Washington just played streetball. Forward Darnell Gant put together his own dunk highlight reel and if you watched SportsCenter on Friday night or Saturday morning, you undoubtedly saw Washington’s Matthew Bryan-Amaning completely posterize Andrew Zimmerman. The 79-64 score is misleading. This was a glorified practice for Washington.
  • With two minutes to play, Stanford called a timeout. Too bad they didn’t have one to call. Technical foul. Yeah, it reminded me of Chris Webber, but I think the stakes were just a bit higher back in 1993.
  • My dad, my friend Matt and me basically spent the last 10 minutes of the Stanford-Washington game yelling at the Huskies’ mascot as it came up through the stands in front of us. Simply, we wanted to take a photo with it. Thanks to my dad for going the “We’ve got a disabled kid over here!” route in an effort to its attention. A real shame that it didn’t work.

So we’ve got Washington and California vying for the tournament championship. I think Washington is in the field of 65 right now and that wouldn’t change with a loss. But I think their length and jumping ability will present a lot of problems for a smaller, less athletic Cal team. Washington has to stay active and run a lot. The Golden Bears have better guards and they’ll need to be on their game from 3-point range. But I do like Washington to win Saturday. All in all, it should be a fun ending to a great four days of college basketball.

My dad got in there, too.

  1. Eric
    March 14, 2010 at 9:04 am

    The Stanford Band never leaves until the other band gives up or the cops throw us out (usually meaning the fun continues outside)…

    You’re a UCLA fan- come to a U$C-Stanford Football game sometime and watch the Trojans leave their own stadium before the Stanford Band…

    Thanks for the great post!

    • spokes310
      March 14, 2010 at 12:07 pm

      Thanks for informing me, Eric. I had never seen anything like that. It was awesome.

  2. louis c
    April 4, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    looking sharp murphy.
    did you try to run your game on the younglings

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