Following the debacle against Stanford Thursday and now yesterday's flap over Josh Shipp's over-the-backboard shot to beat Cal, a lot of folks are making a hue and cry about UCLA being quite the officiating darlings of late.

KC Cal at The Play in California wonders if the Pac-10 is trying to inflate the resume of its top team going into the dance.

This is no knock to UCLA. They made the right plays when handed the chance to make them, but the point is that they never should have been handed those moments in the first place. That leads to the question that everyone is asking: What Pac-10 officials are UCLA blowing in order for things to go so swimmingly for them? First they call a foul when they shouldn't have, then they don't all one when they should! And the better question is who are they going to blow when the NCAA tournament comes around? Hmm....

Perhaps my animosity to UCLA is indeed misguided. They are not the enemy, they're just a pawn in the grand scheme of things. There's always the age old conspiracy that lurks around when any favorite gets calls thrown there way. One has to wonder if the Pac-10 is just trying to pump up UCLA's resume as they head into the tournament. After all, a UCLA upset before the big dance would certainly give the Pac-10 nothing to win. We do, after all, want to look like the best of the best comes from the Pac-10, and a number 2 seed sure doesn't look very noteworthy.


The Sports Lounge sees less invidious forces at play: that ol' hand of fate.

That missed call only served as the appetizer for what would transpire over the final moments. Inbounding the ball from under their basket, Shipp received the ball and drove toward the hole, but was forced to shoot the ball over the backboard, a shot that remarkably went in. According to NCAA Rule 7, Section 1, Article, "The ball shall be out of bounds when it passes over the backboard from any direction." Clearly, Shipp's shot fit that description to a tee, but again the refs botched the call and it changed the outcome of the game in UCLA's favor for the second time in three nights. No matter how you interpret the events of the last two games, it's clear that sometihing special is surrounding the Bruins. A Team of Destiny? You decide.


Whatever forces are at work, they're clearly siding with UCLA.