Originally posted on Taking Bad Schotz  |  Last updated 12/13/12

Following another disappointing season, UCLA was supposed to be back.  They were returning all of the important players off of last year’s team, and they welcomed the number two overall recruiting class headlined by Rivals number one recruit Shabazz Muhammad. This was the year that Coach Howland was going to get UCLA back to the final four. Less than a month into the season, UCLA is a measly 6-3 with loses to Georgetown, San Diego State, and Cal Poly.  The Georgetown game and the San Diego State game are not terrible loses, but the fact that they lost to Cal Poly at home is unheard of.  Maybe some thought they were overrated, but I don’t think anybody expected them to look this mediocre against bad teams, and have three losses in their first nine games. Photo via BlackChristianNews.com They started the year ranked 13th nationally, and have now tumbled out of the rankings.  UCLA can forget about their hopes of winning a National Title for the time being, and start hoping that they don’t miss the NCAA tournament for the second straight year.  All of that being said, the season is still very young and there is plenty of time for UCLA to turn things around, but the question is: What is really wrong with this team?  It’s clearly not the talent as they are one of the most talented teams in the country, so it must be the coach. Not only is Ben Howland’s team underperforming, but he is also losing players who are unhappy with their individual situations on the way.  The two players that have transferred this year are Tyler Lamb and Joshua Smith.  Both of them were returning starters who were not happy with the new direction that the team was going in. Notably, Howland also lost Chace Stanback (UNLV), Mike Moser (UNLV), Matt Carlino (BYU), Drew Gordon (New Mexico), and J’Milson Morgan (Baylor). Clearly there’s a problem here. Howland has had top 25 recruiting classes each of the seasons since their last trip to the final four (2007), which points out that there is no lack of talent in the UCLA program.  But if a talented team is not performing, and has not been performing for many years, then the problem is the coach. A little over a month ago, UCLA opened the newly renovated Pauly Pavilion (Which I went into and it is extremely well done) with hopes that the new arena would be occupied by the top team in the country.  In order for that to happen, UCLA will have to make a coaching change sooner rather than later before they let yet another promising season go to waste.   The bruin faithful fell in love with Ben Howland as he took them to back to back final fours in 2006 and 2007, but it’s time for UCLA fans to reconsider their love for coach Howland. -Weber

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