Despite the wet weather Monday night, UCLA fans crowded local bars and restaurants as the Bruins – led by Santa Barbara native Coach Ben Howland – battled the Florida Gators for the 2006 NCAA men’s basketball championship. The outcome for the Bruins was a disappointingly perfect match for the dreary spring weather, as they were routed by a final score of 73-57. Forty-eight-year-old Howland – who is in his third year as head coach at UCLA – was a local hoops standout in the early 1970s while playing at Dos Pueblos High School. He also led the Santa Barbara City College Vaqueros to the State Finals in 1978, and served as an assistant coach for the UCSB program from 1982-1994.

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