Kentucky Basketball Head Coach John Calipari wrote in his blog that he is planning on chasing the 11 National Championships currently held by UCLA Basketball, and seeing the trajectories of both programs at the current moment, it could happen.
It is always good to have goals in life. An individual should set their sites on milestones, no matter how difficult they might be to attain.
That is what Kentucky Basketball Head Coach John Calipari plans on doing during his time in Lexington and it involves the once untouchable 11 national championships that UCLA Basketball has in their trophy room.
Recently, Calipari wrote in his blog (CoachCal.com), in a segment called The Vision of the Program: What We Are Chasing, that he wants to surpass the Bruin’s lead as the program with the most NCAA basketball championships.
"On the court, we’ve won the most games in all of college basketball, including the past seven years, we have the most NCAA Tournament appearances and have been to four Final Fours in a five-year stretch. Our next challenge is to chase UCLA’s 11 titles."
This is a lofty goal, but one that is, unfortunately, one that Calipari and Kentucky can obtain, especially when he described the process in which he will do it.
Calipari stated that it will be difficult because they won 8 championships of their own since 1948 (an average of one title every 8.5 years). To pass UCLA, they need four more. “This could take more than a decade, but so what? Let’s chase it. Can we do it? Sure, but it’s going to be really tough.”
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Sure it will be tough, but it could be even tougher for UCLA to defend against that. Currently, both teams are on two different trajectories with their programs. Kentucky, under Calipari, is 190-37 with four Final Fours, two championship game appearances and one national championship. Additionally, UK has won at least 29 games in five of Calipari’s six seasons.
The UCLA Basketball team under head coach Steve Alford is 65-40 with two Sweet Sixteens. Since Alford got to Westwood his Bruins have gone 28-9, 22-14 and 15-17 this past season.
The Bruins went as far as the Sweet Sixteen in Alford’s first two years, but this last season, the Bruins not only missed the NCAA Tournament, but were not even an afterthought for the NIT. The Bruins were poised to have a spectacular season after they went 9-4 in the non-conference, which included an 87-77 victory over #1 Kentucky.
Then the Bruins ran into the Pac-12 portion of their schedule and went 6-12. UCLA lost eight of their last 10 games of the season, including their third loss to crosstown rival USC in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament. The Bruins, for lack of a better word, had a meltdown.
So when it comes to the possibility of Kentucky passing UCLA, essentially, Calipari not only has a better chance to win a championship before the Bruins do, but he has a good chance to win four before UCLA does. That is of course if someone involved with the UCLA Basketball program decides to do something about it.
Though the season was a bust, things are looking up for UCLA. With a top 5 recruiting class, UCLA looks to improve off of last season and change the trajectory of the Bruins. Having a core of Isaac Hamilton, Bryce Alford and Thomas Welsh could improve with the likes of Lonzo Ball and T.J. Leaf joining the program, but the Bruins are still miles from where they need to be.
The UCLA Basketball team may finally be on the rise, but it will be hard for the Bruins to not only get a national championship, but stop Kentucky from getting another one of their own.
Still, getting a title for either team will be difficult, but if UCLA does not want to be surpassed by Kentucky, then UCLA has to focus on trying to get another banner to hang in the rafters of Pauley Pavilion. Not only will that increase the amount of titles Calipari and UK need to win obtain to try to pass UCLA, but winning a national title is a gift within itself.
Hopefully Alford (or his replacement), sees the importance of this.