UCLA head coach Ben Howland confirmed that junior forward Brendan Lane intends to graduate early and transfer to a mid-major conference school to complete his master’s degree and play his senior year of basketball.
UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero released a statement declaring that Ben Howland’s job is safe:
“As I have stated before, at the conclusion of each sport’s season, a program and its coaches are evaluated. That evaluation includes a comprehensive review of the performance of the team, including its competitive success and its continued commitment to academics, but where other aspects related to the overall management of the program are also considered.
I had several discussions with Head Coach Ben Howland before deciding on what was best for the future of UCLA Basketball. Subsequent to these conversations, and in consultation with Chancellor Block, I have made the decision that the UCLA men’s basketball program will remain under Coach Howland’s leadership and direction.
Obviously, we are aware of the recent criticisms of our men’s basketball program; Ben understands full well that the management and oversight of the program needs improvement. He has assured me that, going forward, both the character and performance among our student-athletes will reflect the University’s values and the basketball program’s storied tradition. I believe that his overall record and performance proves he is more than capable of delivering on these assurances.”
The UCLA football team will begin Spring practice on April 3rd at Spaulding Field. The Bruins will practice every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday with the Annual Spring Game to be held at the Bruins’ home stadium, The Rose Bowl, at 5:00 pm on Saturday, May 5th. All practices, as well as the Spring Game, are open to the public.
Tuesday and Thursday practices begin at 3:45 pm. Saturday practices will begin at 9:30 am or 1:00 pm. Check UCLABruins.com and twitter (@uclaathletics and @uclacoachmora) for finalized practice times.
UCLA had its hopes dashed when it was snubbed for the postseason by the NCAA on Selection Sunday.
Only not the NCAA Tournament, as the Bruins’ March Madness fantasies faded in a 66-58 loss to Arizona in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 Tournament on Thursday.
No, UCLA was jilted by the postseason NIT and will not accept a bid from another postseason tournament, cementing the team’s record at 19-14, the third time in Ben Howland’s tenure that the Bruins have not won 20 games. No UCLA head coach has had three sub-20-win seasons since John Wooden in the late 1950s.
The Bruins concluded the season with an RPI of 127, according to CBSSports.com, and Howland said emphatically after the now season-ending loss to the Wildcats that the team would accept a bid, if offered. It was not.
“If we have the opportunity to play in postseason in the NIT, we would accept,” Howland said. “It’s something that I want for our players. I think that the experience for our younger kids as well as our seniors having a chance to try to win their 20th game of the season would be a good benefit for our program.
“So, yeah, no question; we would not snub our nose at the opportunity to play in the NIT.”
The Pac-12 was still represented well in the tournament, which concludes on March 29 at the Madison Square Garden, as Arizona, Washington, Oregon and Stanford were selected. The conference got two NCAA Tournament bids, with Pac-12 Tournament champion Colorado getting an 11-seed and Cal playing in the play-in game for a No. 12 seed.
For the second time in three seasons, UCLA ends its basketball season with a measure of sanity.
There will be no March Madness for these Bruins.
UCLA last-ditch hope for an NCAA Tournament appearance went out with not a bang but a whisper on Thursday afternoon in a 66-58 loss to Arizona in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 Tournament.
Buried by a 10-minute stretch to open the first half that rivaled the worst in the team’s recent history – the Bruins managed just six points in the game’s first 11 minutes, 28 seconds – they now wait to find out if they’ll even receive a bid to the National Invitation Tournament.
“No question,” Howland said about accepting an NIT bid, if one were offered. “We would not snub our nose at the opportunity to play in the NIT.”
Now Howland has to hope the selection committee turned the game on late.
If UCLA fans thought the Bruins’ win over USC in the opening round of the Pac-12 Tournament on Wednesday set offensive basketball back 50 years, the team’s first-half performance on Thursday pushed it back another 300.
And the game wasn’t even invented until 1891.
The Bruins drove to the lane in horse-drawn carriage, exchanged errant passes with bumbling dribbling and struggled to even attempt a shot. Players even tripped over their own feet and Arizona was not much better, making just 6-of-20 attempts in the first half. UCLA was able to keep it close for much of the half, eventually heading into the locker room down 29-23, only because of the Wildcats’ woes.
“We just didn’t get as good of shots and we didn’t really handle it, like coach said, didn’t handle their pressure very well,” said UCLA senior guard Jerime Anderson, who scored 14 points and added four rebounds and four assists. “There are two different styles of play from last game to this game. USC backed off of us and we still struggled.
I just think that we didn’t execute very well in the first half, and that’s what led to us not making shots and not getting a good start.”