After the ethical lapses of Jim Harrick and the abomination that was Steve Lavin’s hair, you’d think there’d be tremendous civic pride over the recent achievements of Ben Howland’s UCLA basketball team. Think again, suggests the LA Times’ resident pain in the neck Bill Plaschke, who thinks the Bruins are so dull, “UCLA could win a national title and get hurt in recruiting.”

(Cedric Bozeman spies Plaschke ducking out to purchase nachos during Saturday’s UCLA/Memphis trudgefest)

The scoreboard flickered with the sort of numbers that Southern Californians love.

At a football game.

The playing surface was littered with the sort of diving stops and up-the-middle defense that Southern Californians adore.

At Dodger Stadium.

To many in its hometown, UCLA’s return to college basketball’s Final Four with a 50-45 regional championship victory over Memphis on Saturday was more confusing than cathartic.

This is fun?

This is entertaining?

This is L.A.?

More Deadwood than Hollywood, the cold-blooded Bruins are two winnable games from making their town’s sports fans face a long-dreaded question.

What if a national championship is brought to Los Angeles by a bore?

Why was Saturday’s 10.2 Los Angeles rating for the Memphis game only one-third the rating the game received in Memphis, and less than one-third the rating of other recent L.A. teams in playoffs and World Series and bowl games?

And did you talk to anyone after the game, or after any of the first four UCLA tournament victories?

The three words I have heard most often are “A great game.”

But the next three words, spoken in the same breath, are “Hard to watch.”