UCLA Basketball: Can the Bruins win the Pac-12 after Alford?

TUCSON, AZ - FEBRUARY 8: Dylan Smith
TUCSON, AZ - FEBRUARY 8: Dylan Smith /

The UCLA basketball team have relieved themselves of a huge weight as Steve Alford has been stripped of his duties. Could this spark a run for a Pac-12 Championship?

There is light at the end of the tunnel. New life is breathing into the lungs of the UCLA basketball team. Just like episode four of the Star Wars saga, there is a new hope. With Steve Alford gone, the real season can begin.

RELATED: Steve Alford is Officially Out, Murry Bartow Named Interim Head Coach

Even before Alford’s termination, there was a possibility that the Bruins could win the Pac-12 regular season championship if only for the fact that the conference is collectively in a downward spiral.

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It has not been a fun start to the 2018-19 season for the Conference of Champions.

To put it into perspective how bad things are, this weekend, minutes before UCLA tipped off against Liberty (which resulted in a double-digit loss that prompted Alford’s termination), the Pac-12’s top team, Arizona State, lost to Princeton at home, which came on the heels of their win over #1 Kansas.

Again, it has not been a fun start.

As for the rest of the conference, well, they are also struggling just as mightily with disappointing losses to teams they should steamroll.

With this in mind, there is a very good chance that this talent-laden UCLA team can push it to the limit and capture the Pac-12 title.

With reports that the team was disconnected from Alford and “hated” him as a coach, his removal should prompt a revitalization among the players. With the removal of someone that has clearly been a problem for the most storied program in college basketball, it is very possible that the Bruins can come together and work as a team to take down the other 11 teams in the conference.

Now I am not saying that UCLA will go undefeated because we all know there are still some deficiencies with this team, but they do have the talent to fight, fight, fight their way to enough victories to claim their first regular season conference championship since 2013.

One thing that the Bruins will need is for interim head coach Murry Bartow to be that spark for this listless program, but as stated before, with Alford gone, that might not be as big of an issue as it was before the weekend.

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It will take a few weeks to see if this title run is a possibility, but for now, the Bruin players can show that they are more than what Alford made them out to be.