UCLA: A Season Of Struggles

Max GrossCorrespondent IJanuary 9, 2010

ANAHEIM, CA - DECEMBER 12:  Malcolm Lee #3 of the UCLA Bruins shoots over Jarvis Varnando #32 of the Mississippi State Bulldogs in the John Wooden Classic on December 12, 2009 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

              At 7-9 after today's loss at Stanford, UCLA is having a very disappointing season. After losing a handful of players to the NBA draft lottery in the past few years, the Bruins were not left with a lot of talent this year.

          With an opening night 2OT loss to Cal State Fullerton at home and also losses to other lower level teams such as Portland and Long Beach State, it did not look good for the Bruins this season. The lack of rebounding or solid man on the post is a contributing factor to the bruins slow start.

       The leading rebounder for the Bruins is Freshmen Reeves Nelson with 5.8 rpg. As a team they are a mediocre sixth in the Pac-10. Rebounding should not be as much of a problem next year, with C Josh Smith from Kent,WA coming in as a Freshmen. Adding the #1 Center in the country will help the struggling Bruins next season.

      UCLA head coach Ben Howland has always been an incredible recruiter and he didn't stop this season. Adding to top 40 prospects is definitely the way to pick up a team after a down season. Smith will replace the two big men leaving, Nikola Dragovic and James Keefe.Tyler Lamb will replace Senior 3-pt specialist Mike Roll.

         After an exciting win over Cal, the bruins followed with a loss to Stanford. At 2-2 in the Pac-10 the only way the bruins can make the NCAA tournament is to win the Pac-10 tournament. A weak Pac-10 this season could make it possible for any team to win 3 consecutive games and clinch a berth to the tournament.

       The only remaining teams I could see UCLA beating are Oregon State, USC and possibly Washington. This would result in the Bruins worst record in the Howland ERA. This could put Howland on the hot seat at the end of the year.

      If Howland is fired, I could see Frank Martin at Kansas State  or Mick Cronin from Cincinnati being possible replacements.