How much do big winning streaks help? Steve Alford draws on his past to explain

Back in 1995, Steve Alford was a fledgling head coach at Manchester College. Just 30 years old, he guided the tiny Indiana school to 31 straight wins, a perfect record blemished only when the Spartans lost to Wisconsin–Platteville in the Division III national title game.

As he prepares to take UCLA to its first Sweet Sixteen since 2008 — and a first for him since 1999 — standing in the way tonight is a Stephen F. Austin squad that has won 29 straight. He remarked on the similarities between the Lumberjacks and the first program he ever coached. Continue reading

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At a glance: No. 4 UCLA vs. No. 12 Stephen F. Austin

NCAA Tournament, South Region
Round of 64:
No. 4 UCLA (27-8) vs. No. 12 Stephen F. Austin (32-2)
When: Sunday, 4:10 p.m. PT, Viejas Arena (San Diego State)
TV: TBS (Andrew Catalon, Mike Gminski, Otis Livingston)
Radio: AM 570 (Chris Roberts, Tracy Murray)

STEPHEN F. AUSTIN LUMBERJACKS
RPI/Pomeroy ranking: 52 / 44

Best wins: Friday night’s 77-75 overtime upset of Virginia Commonwealth, by far. VCU — which had a No. 13 RPI — was only Stephen F. Austin’s second top-100 RPI opponent this season, and probably deserved to win until it fouled on a 3-point attempt while up four points. A 29-win streak usually requires some breaks, and the Lumberjacks benefited from the Rams’ bone-headed play.

Besides that, SFA’s Southland Conference schedule didn’t really offer anyone of note. Its 10-point win over Towson (RPI 100) in December would be the next bullet point on the resume. Continue reading

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