I often poke fun at the UCLA Bruins fan base and alum. It is pretty easy to joke around about their high expectations for their basketball program as well as some of their high-profile alums (Bill Walton) publicly declaring for martial law on everything UCLA hoops related.
Honestly though, what they are doing is nothing unfair or anything that can be deemed as wrong. If they want more from their program, who are we to decide what that group of people should want?
That is why Steve Alford had to know going into the program that he is expected to do more than just win a conference title or make the big dance. The UCLA faithful expect to be playing basketball deep in the month of March and more preferably, having their players dribble a basketball in some meaningful moments during April.
The question that Alford must have in the back of his cranium has to be about how much time he has to do what Ben Howland couldn’t — win a National Title. That is what the Bruins are all about. Winning morale victories, just getting big-time recruits and winning one game in March is not acceptable.
Howland — in large thanks to three Final Four appearances — got more time than I think we give UCLA folk credit for. We all joked around about the team’s firing of a coach who has done well for the program, and that they did so without there being a slew of suitable replacements ready to take on the task of adding a banner to the rafters.
I think it is safe to say that Alford is going to have far less time to do what he needs to do than Howland, and you know what? I no longer blame anyone involved with UCLA for wanting to win. I mean, what is wrong with wanting more? Instead, I will blame Alford if he was not to succeed, as he should have known what he was getting himself into.
Joe is a Senior Writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JosephNardone