Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
March is that magic month for college basketball. It is a time for titanic performances that stand like fiery, aspirational monuments for all of the generations that follow.
Shabazz Muhammad must don the super hero's cape on all six nights for UCLA to have any real chance at a championship.
If he does, Muhammad can take his place in the Pantheon, abreast freshmen like "Never Nervous" Pervis Ellison from Louisville and Carmello Anthony at Syracuse, who led their teams as freshmen to national championships. Standing, as young men, at center stage in an arena stacked with 70,000 people as the ticker tape streams down from the high beams and the sound of "One Shining Moment" floats ecstatically over the assembly.
Muhammad can make that indelible mark, the one and done hero, the legend who arrived and in a single season willed his team out far into the ether and, once there, carried them all the way to a title.
UCLA has a good team; they have smart, skilled players who can score the basketball—and, when they're hard-headed and as physical as they can be—capable of halting an opponent's offensive. The team will have to be good, they will have to be very good alongside Muhammad if anything is going to come from this tournament for UCLA.
But it will be Bazz, the power plant—the at times unstoppable fury—leading this team with a steady skill and an absolute determination against being vanquished, if these Bruins are going to make March memories for themselves first of all, and then for the fans who follow them.