UCLA basketball head coach Steve Alford is under fire after his Bruins lost in predictable fashion to a beatable opponent at home. With nothing changing, it is time to move on.
The UCLA basketball team played the Belmont Bruins on Saturday and because it was not a marquee game, the only way this contest would make headlines is if one of two things happened.
The first scenario would involve UCLA absolutely obliterated Belmont, fueled by multiple Sports Center Top 10 highlights. The other scenario would involve Alford’s team losing.
Alford’s team lost.
The UCLA Bruins are now 7-3 after suffering their first loss at home this season. Though the UCLA players had their own mistakes, this squarely lands on the shoulders of Alford. He even admitted that in his post-game chat with the media.
"We knew that they were very well-coached and a good team going into this, this was a scary game for us. This is on me. I did a really poor job this week of trying to manage tasks."
This a very telling quote which indicates that several things are wrong with the program right now.
Alford coaches powerhouse UCLA. Belmont, though talented and well coached, is a mid-major squad that does not have half the resources that are available in Westwood. How is this is a scary game for UCLA? This should always be a scary game for UCLA’s opponent, especially in the house that Wooden built.
But above all, he admitted that he did not have this team ready. That is all he has to do. That is his job. Having his team ready, in exchange for millions of dollars, is the only thing he had to worry about this week and he failed. Again.
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There are so many things that went wrong in this game: shooting 12/28 (42.9%) from the free throw line, the inability to play consistent defense, and not being able to stay in front of Belmont for the majority of the game, especially when they had a 12-point lead. For Belmont to be able to sneak back in and win the game with a simple backdoor cut, which was poorly defended, is inexcusable for Alford, but we have seen this all before.
This is not going to get better. This is going to stay the same.
As much as I would like to say they can improve, they probably won’t. They will have a few games where they dominate their opponent, but it won’t be many.
UCLA next two games are on the road against Cincinnati and Ohio State and I am predicting big losses. The Pac-12 schedule begins around the new year and though the entire conference is playing underwhelming basketball, we can already expect some face-palming losses.
That is my main point here, things will not change. We know Alford and know that with him in charge there is no conference title in sight. There will be no tournament trophy to hoist. There will be no getting past the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament.
With that in mind, the UCLA Athletic Department needs to consider moving on from Alford. It is clear that he is not living up to the standards of UCLA basketball, the most decorated programs in the nation. While other blue bloods continue to dominate, Alford continues to stagnate. If UCLA wants to have a commitment to excellence, then change is needed now.