Pac-12 championships are rewarding at UCLA, but they’re not enough as coach Ben Howland found out last season.
His team won the Pac-12, but lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament. That was not good enough for his bosses, who have brought in Steve Alford with the idea that the Bruins will be making a run at an NCAA championship if not now, then later. It will have to happen later. The Bruins aren’t championship material quite yet.
Alford will have a good team that will have a solid season and bid for another Pac-12 title. He’s working with six returning players, which should help. Larry Drew II has graduated from the backcourt and will be missed. Sophomore Kyle Anderson and Jordan Adams will head the offense and will be backed up by freshmen Bryce Alford and Zach Lavine.
As a freshman, Anderson averaged 8.6 rebounds and 9.7 points per game. Adams averaged 15.3 points per game last season and has healed from a broken right foot sustained in the Pac 12 tournament last year. The Bruins have a capable frontcourt with 6-foot-10 twin brothers David Wear (7.1 PPG, 5.0 RPG) and Travis Wear (10.0 PPG, 5.0 RPG), while sophomore Tony Parker will be counted upon to give UCLA key depth in the frontcourt.
It will be a close race in the Pac-12 with the Bruins squeaking it out. They will win one NCAA tournament game, but that’s it. When Alford gets settled into his new position and starts making key roster changes, the Bruins will win more games in the NCAA.