Tuesday, March 5, 2013

UCLA Basketball: 3 Brief Thoughts

Shabazz Muhammad

Was this really breaking news?

Shabazz is going pro. You know it, I know it, we all know it. And had Howland answered the question regarding Shabazz differently, and had he just said something along the lines of "we will see at the end of the season," then the spin is different. Then, Howland is still holding on to hope that Muhammad will come back, and he hasn't learned from the Kevin Love and Jrue Holiday departures. So this was a no win situation for Howland, and he might as well have told the truth. More than anything else, I really believes this helps UCLA if Howland is the coach long term.

The stigma out there right now is after the Kevin Love debacle, Howland purposely help Holiday back to lower his stock, and it worked. Holiday went from top 5 to out of the lottery. But he left anyways. And while such a narrative is ridiculous, as I really don't think any coach would hold a player back purposely, its out there. So if Howland does remain at UCLA, then this probably helps him.

The Washington Trip

It has come to this...

Remember, the 2005-06 team finished 24-7 (14-4 in PAC 10 play) on fire to win the conference. And we all know what happened after that. And while thats one side of the argument, the flip side is that the 05-06 squad that finished as runners-up finished far more authoritatively. They blasted their way through the last few games, and obliterated Cal in the conference tourney final. So no, even if this team wins the final two games, there is no comparison to the 05-06 team unless it does so in spectacular fashion. And thats assuming they win.

This has just been such a roller coaster season, with lots of twists and turns. But there has been one constant theme. When it seems like the Bruins get that jolt from a big performance, they follow with a 180 degree drop. And while the Washington schools aren't very good, remember, UCLA has not won at Washington under Ben Howland. So we can talk about any higher expectations and/or seeding if the Bruins can actually finish this time and sweep Washington.

Should they not close, the pressure the goes back on ...

Ben Howland

Nothing has changed. The season is still long ways from being over. Howland has to show that under his leadership, UCLA can be among college basketball's elite. And again, whenever it seems his seat is cooling off, it just seems to heat right back up.  All I can say is, lets not worry about this for now. Let's just let this season play out, and we'll keep faith that the best thing that can happen for UCLA Basketball will happen. 

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