The UCLA basketball team lost their third game in a row and second consecutive nationally televised game as the Bruins lose to the Ohio State Buckeyes, 80-66, continuing Steve Alford’s journey down the spiral.
Lately, I have been nostalgic for a lot of 90’s culture, especially when it comes to music. A few days a go, a friend of mine and I got into a discussion about Nine Inch Nail’s classic, The Downward Spiral. Not only was I reminded of what a masterpiece this was, even outside the Industrial dance music subculture, but it reminded me of something else. UCLA basketball.
The Downward Spiral
. A great album. A not so great — yet fitting — description of Bruins basketball right now. Please, fill free to play the music video below to aid in the reading of this article.
Mr. Self Destruct
It seems that there is a lot that head coach Steve Alford is missing on and because of that, it will be his downfall. This is the third consecutive game the Bruins have lost, which started a week ago when the Bruins were downed by Belmont. This past Wednesday, the Bruins choked at Cincinnati, losing by 29, the third most in the Alford era. Today, they lost to Ohio State, 80-66. This is not what many expected of this talent-laden squad this year and because of that, Alford is getting closer…
…Closer to losing his job as the head of the UCLA basketball program. In the offseason, there were whispers that Alford had an ultimatum placed on him. Essentially, he needs to make it to the Final Four or move on. What we are seeing now indicates that this team will not only fail to make it that far in the NCAA Tournament, but they will fail to make it to the Big Dance in general.
UCLA is just not getting better. Admittedly, they did play Ohio State tough through parts of this game, but they did not have what it takes to play consistently for 40 minutes. The Bruins shot 43.9% from the field, aided by an abysmal 22.2% (4/18) performance from behind the arc. To get a more specific feel of how the Bruins performed, from an individual stand point, 7’2 center Moses Brown only had two rebounds for the game and neither of them were defensive rebounds. How is it possible that Alford has all this talent and cannot put forth a solid effort on both sides of the court?
I Do Not Want This
The chants are growing louder. “Fire Alford”.
With this inauspicious start, Bruins fans are clamoring for change. After the loss to Ohio State, UCLA is now 7-5. That brings Alford’s overall record to 124-62 (66.7%). Of the nine coaches that came after John Wooden, he has the third worst winning percentage, leading only Walt Hazzard (.621) and Steve Lavin (.650). As the NIN title suggests, and I believe this speaks for 99.7% of Bruins fans, “I Do Not Want This”. (Seriously, what’s with the 0.3% of the holdouts?)
We are not even in the Pac-12 portion of the schedule and UCLA seems to have already hurt their postseason chances. With only Liberty remaining in the non-conference, the Bruins do not have another quality opponent, and thusly, will enter conference play without a quality win. Though their losses to ranked opponents were expected, their loss to Belmont was not and that will hurt their resume.
The weird thing is that UCLA can win the Pac-12 regular season title, simply because the entire conference is abhorrent. If UCLA does win the conference, they will undoubtedly have several losses in Pac-12 play, just because that is how it goes with the Bruins under Alford. As the season progresses, so does Alford’s decent further down the spiral.