The Cost of UCLA Failures

UCLA this year has had tons of ups and downs.  Fortunately, there have been more ups so far this season.  If you consider Shabazz being able to play, being tied for first in the Pac-12, having some quality wins over Mizzouri and Arizona, and the fact that nobody has transferred out of the program in like 2 months. The problem for the Bruins is that the downs of the season have somehow become more important to most fans than the ups.

Remember when Josh Smith transferred and everybody thought that it would be a good thing, because let's face it he is never going to be in good shape.  I thought it would be great due to the fact that it would give Tony Parker a better shot to play some big time minutes and contribute to this team.  He hasn't done a damn thing this season to show that he is the type of talent everybody thought he was coming into the season.  The guy is the second coming of Smith and I don't think nearly as talented.  He just looks lost on the court during his 7 minutes a game or less.

I think UCLA is the best team in the Pac-12 and that is saying something considering the talent that is there.  Yes, most folks think that the Pac-12 is some middle of the pack conference.  There are probably 5 tournament teams in the conference right now: UCLA, Arizona, Cal, Arizona State and Colorado.  With Stanford and Washington being on the outside looking in.

UCLA is continuing to improve and although I was so disappointed with the Shabazz show after the Washington win, I am proud of what this team has accomplished.  There is still a major problem facing this team however.  If they don't win at least a few tournament games it will be a disappointment.

This year there is no clear cut #1 team as we can see by all the losses by teams in the top 10.  UCLA has a chance to make some noise during the tournament.  And I think that if they flameout in the first round it will mean major changes in the program.  Mainly the dismissal of coach Ben Howland.  He has been skating on thin ice for the last 2 years and that ice could either get thicker or break and drown him.  There are a lot in the Bruin faithful that would love to see him gone.  I am not one of them.  For all the bad things he has done there are 100 good things he has brought to Westwood.

UCLA is not going to be back to the upper echelon programs with a couple wins in the tournament however.  We all know that UCLA is a different kind of school in that they only hang championship banners.  They won't be satisfied with anything less than a title.  It's been almost 20 years since the last title and we all expect big things from this program.  This years team has the talent to make things happen and bring a title back to UCLA.  The issue will be can these Bruins play well enough over that 3 week stretch to beat teams with just as much talent.  We have seen they can beat top teams, but also lose to horrible teams like USC.

The Jekyl and Hyde time for this team has to be over.  If they want to be taken seriously by the rest of the country they better step it up.  Otherwise, expect a mass of changes for next years team.  Including a new coach, more player transfers and more questions with increasingly difficult answers.  UCLA is a top tier program in college basketball.  It is time that these Bruins remind the country of that fact.  Go Bruins!

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