Category Archives: UCLA Basketball

UCLA Bruins Basketball

Why are goodbyes so damned hard?

Hey guys! It’s me — the big dude who’s been roamin’ around here, bloggin’ it up.

Well, in case you haven’t figured out, I was offered a gig by the dudes at FanSided to edit their UCLA blog Go Joe Bruin.

The goals of this website will carry on to the new place, too, so don’t you fret. The difference is, the platform will be larger and the audience should be awesome’r. I love you guys, so it’d be awesome if you fired up a new tab and headed on over there.




Your Gut Instinct Might Be Wrong – Football Math

(Ed. Note: The following post was done by a new member of the family, ixrs. Please, welcome him to the show.)

You’re down by 14 in a football game with 3 minutes left in a football game. You just scored a touchdown. Your team sucks and only converts 2pt. conversions 40% of the time (most teams average around 45-55%) You should kick an extra point, right? Nope.

It’s mathematically more sound to go for 2.

Why is this relevant? Because fans often call for things that are detrimental to the team that they love as their first instinct. And likewise, everybody has been calling for Ben Howland’s head, and those that defend him are derisively called “Howlers” (at that other “Bruin” blog).

I’ve posted on (this post, specifically) detailing why firing Howland is a bad idea. tl;dr -> Not firing him now will save 7 million dollars (not chump change, considering even Kentucky’s highest paid coach in the nation makes $4 million. The legendary Coach K of Duke makes 2.2) and this will help us HIRE A MUCH BETTER coach, or if the best case scenario occurs, Howland redeems himself.

You’d be naive to think otherwise. Money talks. Everything else walks.

Finally, football math is just interesting.

Math below:

Most teams have around a 40-55% chance at succeeding. No matter what happens, you’re hoping for another defensive stop and then another touchdown.

Let’s assume the worst case scenario — your team only gets a 40% conversion rate! Two 1 pt. conversions = a tie, so we’ll use that as a baseline. Now if you fail the first 2pt. conversion and succeed at the second, you’ll end up with 14pts., which is exactly the same result. Since that would be the exact same result, we can ignore it, because it’s the same as kicking two PATs.

Now lets compare the chances of losing versus the chances of winning, if one outweighs the other then we can figure out if the 2 pt. conversion is a better choice.

Now what are the odds of losing? 60% (failing the first 2pt. conv.) x 60% (failing the second 2pt. conv.) = 36% of losing.

Now if you make the first conversion, you win the game, because your second attempt is just a 1pt. attempt (so you’ll get 15pt. total, winning the game versus the 14 pt. deficit). What are the odds of making the 2pt. conversion? It’s a given- 40%.

Now 40% is a greater percentage than 36%, so your odds of winning outright outweigh your odds of losing outright.

Basically, you should go for the 2pt. attempt EVEN if your team is below 50% at 2pt. attempts! (As long as your team is above around 39% or so at 2pt. conversions.)

UCLA Bruin, soon-to-be NBA All Star, Kevin Love, stomps on Luis Scola’s grill

Now, we understand why stomping on someone’s face is bad. No matter what, that’s kind of something we just don’t do in America. Perhaps this is a rite of passage in some traditional culture, but not in Minnesota (at least, not that I know of).

But someone needs to tell Kevin Love the news, you guys. Because he totally stomped on Luis Scola’s face and chest. Check it:

Ouch. That looks pretty terrible. I’m not about to defend our beLOVEd Kevin Love, but if we’re being honest, it wasn’t exactly done out of malcontent, at least to these eyes. Here’s another angle:

Honestly, it looks as if he’s trying to step over him, but his foot gets tangled in Luis Scola’s face. If it was truly malicious, Love would’ve stepped a little harder, because if we’re being honest, it was a pretty light step.

That said, I guess stepping over the guy isn’t the best course of action (which was what Kevin Love was doing). He could’ve easily went around him, jumped over him, something. But to say that he stepped on his face intentionally? That’s a stretch.

Of course, the suspension of two games he received is fine by me. It wasn’t done maliciously, but it might be construed that way and it did look kind of bad.

Next time, Kevin Love? Remember that you’re a Bruin and that we don’t step on other people’s faces on purpose except if it’s a poster of a uSc student’s face.

(Then it’s fair game.)

To the greatest group of people on earth: You, the reader, deserve all my thanks

When I started this blog up back in November 2011, I was hoping just to mess around, rant about the UCLA Athletics program a bit, and possibly kill some time while the winter break was coming up. All the way through January, I didn’t do much to advertise, or even consider garnering more reads.

I always came in with the plan of coming up with an alternative to that sorry-ass excuse for a blog, “BruinsNation.” The narrative at that site makes me vomit, and I often mistake it for some crappy uSc blog, considering all they do is talk shit about our Bruins.

But, there are, of course, people and places to talk about.

It wasn’t until January that I had began posting links on Reddit (namely /r/UCLA and a few others) that I realized that the community was hungry for a UCLA blog that tried its best to be objective and let the story of our Bruins dominate the narrative (as opposed to the story of the blogger). Ever since I began connecting with people from /r/UCLA and other websites, I took the blog more seriously. Instead of considering it as some place to rant, I began to consider it a community, or at least the start of one. There is no fan-base as vocal as the UCLA fan-base, and there is no fan-base as proud as the UCLA fan-base.

I put up polls. You guys vote on them. I write posts that forces you to rebuttle, or even agree? You comment on those posts. My statistics tell me that the need for a UCLA athletics community — a place to rant without getting your ass banned — is one that’s very much needed. And that’s why I’m continuing.

So yes, the entire purpose of this blog post is to thank you, the reader, for keeping up and following along. I can’t post all the time (I’m a junior at UCLA and I’m taking 19 units!), but I can post as much as humanly possible, about basketball, football, or whatever other newsworthy thing going on the UCLA universe. If you’d like to help out around here, ask questions, show us some vids, I’d be happy to have you along for the ride. Hit me up in the comment section below, saying you want to be a part of this blog, and I’ll invite you via your e-mail. If you just want to keep reading and answering poll questions? That’s fine, too. It’s you’re prerogative.


Heartbreak: UCLA Men’s Basketball loses nail-biter to Washington, 71-69

Ben Howland is still taking his playbook, going home

I want to cry.

I want to cry, not because we lost a close game. I want to cry because we lost this close game. Bruins across the nation may be getting tired of the phrase “turning the corner” but a win against one of the top-ranked teams in the Pac-12, in the loudest arena in the conference, while we’re just two games back from the top spot? That would have been turn-the-corner-esque.

Alas, it wasn’t meant to be.

UCLA lost to U-Dub 71-69 on Thursday night. While the score may indicate that Washington survived a “scare,” that wasn’t the case at all — UCLA jumped on the Huskies early in the second half and, with minutes to go, our Bruins dropped a 10-point lead within a matter of seconds. The Huskies’ late surge definitely had something to do with it, but as the story of our season has been, we crumbled late. Shoddy decision-making, poor shot selection and really terrible defense down the stretch doomed us.

Because, with five minutes left to go in this contest, our Bruins held the Huskies (who average 77 points per game) to 53 points while we mounted 63 on their asses. While we managed to score six points in those last five minutes, we let the home team put up over 20 points to close the damn thing out.

The implications for the win would’ve been surreal. We would’ve probably gotten our first road win outside of Los Angeles (we beat uSc on the “road”), and arguably the most important one of the season. We would’ve put ourselves in position to have an outside (but not too outside) shot to take a lead in the Pac-12 standings. At the very least, we might’ve begun to make the case for a bid to the Dance this marge. Instead, here we are, at 12-10 overall and 5-5 in conference play.

The obvious narrative is that of Coach Ben Howland’s seat, and its current temperature. And while my heart, filled with emotion, even 12 hours after the fact, keeps saying, FIRE HIM! FIRE THAT MOTHERF***ER, my brain, cold and calculated, says we still need to have him for one more year. Despite the setbacks that Howland has suffered, it’s the 2012 recruiting class that’s worth keeping him around for, namely to keep us in contention for the top prospect in the nation, Shabazz Muhammad.

Things are going to get funky here in Westwood. I ask you, reader, one more time: Should Howland get fired?

POLL: Should Ben Howland get fired?

This question has been burning up inside the Bruin faithful the entire season. UCLA basketball coach Ben Howland, responsible for three straight Final Four appearances from 2006 to 2008, has led his team to something of a really terrible season. At 4-4 within the Pac-12, UCLA is two games back out of first place in the conference and is 7th in the Pac-12 standings. Their overall record isn’t too awesome either, at 11-9 with key losses to teams like Middle Tennessee State and Loyola Marymount. Those are hardly teams worthy of losing to.

Of course, the other side of the coin is this: Not many basketball coaches get to the Final Four, and fewer do it three times in a row. The level of discipline and the talent in recruiting is certainly a factor, and that usually is on the head coach. In Howland’s nine-year tenure as coach, UCLA has only missed the Big Dance twice. Last year, UCLA mustered up a 13-5 in-conference record (although they wound up losing the Pac-12 title to Oregon) and managed to get into the round of 32. Second round isn’t exactly something to gawk at, but it isn’t something to worth firing a coach over.

Still, UCLA has been bounced out of the second round of the NCAA tournament twice in the past three seasons, and if UCLA cannot make the cut into the tournament this year (and, if we’re honest, it doesn’t look very good), then it will have been the second time in three years that we don’t get to play in the postseason.

Personally? Howland needs — not should, needs — to stay for one more year. Some shoddy recruiting — which may very well fall on Howland’s head, mind you — has led to a huge dip in talent level this year, leaving this team unable to play defense unless they’re playing zone defense (which is built to mask deficiencies and avoid having one-on-one matchups exploited). But with the number one recruit in the nation, Shabazz Muhammad, strongly considering heading to Westwood, and with Kyle Anderson, the second-best recruit in the nation, already committed to UCLA, it’d be difficult to retain those two extremely-talented players with Ben Howland gone. And rightfully so — no player who wants to go one-and-done and into the NBA wants to hurt his draft status by playing for a losing team.

It seems irrational to fire Howland knowing that, with the commitment of Muhammad, the best recruiting class in the nation will be at his disposal. We know what Howland is capable of when he has serious talent on his squad, and if he’s truly “lost his touch,” then he’ll tank for sure next year.

But if he hasn’t? If this coach gets deep into the NCAA tournament and comes inches away from winning us another national championship? Then we’ll know how silly we were, and that Howland went through a slump.

So, yeah, one more year. But what say you? Should Howland get to stay one more year?

UCLA Men’s Basketball: Bruins win two in a row, beat Colorado 77-60

Don’t call it a comeback just yet.

UCLA soundly beat the Colorado Buffaloes 77-60 for their second-straight win and for, finally, a winning record in the Pac-12. We now stand at 5-4 in-conference and 12-9 overall. Colorado falls to 6-3 in-conference and 14-7 overall.

Of course, we all want to get super excited because maybe, just maybe, we have a chance to win the conference if we play this well.

But I urge you to stay even-keel. Why? Because disappointment sucks. Disappointment can send your life into an ever-spiraling abyss filled with nothing but regret, paranoia and skepticism. *Cries*

In all seriousness, we have to recognize that UCLA is an incredible team at home. We’re 10-3 in Los Angeles overall and undefeated at home in conference play. That means we’re 2-7 on the road, and that’s going to be key coming down the stretch.

That said, this win gave us all something to hope for. The defense was intense the entire way through and the offense made the plays it had to, when it had to and how it had to. Colorado was a good team coming into this game, so let’s not discount the win. But let’s not settle either, because our road record is, indeed, dubious.

Still, this could be that cliche season-changing win that sees our record skyrocket. All this team needs, talented as they are, is a good kick in the ass and a slap on the head to remind them just how good they can be. Let’s be hopeful, you guys, but be sure to keep yourself level-headed.

Because disappointment kills.