UCLA out-numbered at Wooden Classic

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It’s no secret that UCLA is facing some tough times.

After last seasons’ debacle and this season beginning with Shabazz Muhammad’s eligibility dispute, a loss at home to Cal Poly and Tyler Lamb, THEN Josh Smith leaving the program, it’s safe to say that even with a top-rated recruiting class, the Bruins have essentially picked up where they left off.

Well Bill Dwyre of the L.A. Times writes a piece that doesn’t help. Looks like UCLA was even out-supported by San Diego State in, of all events, the Wooden Classic.

Not only was the winner the other guys, a San Diego State team that, while recently very good, has never had, nor even pondered having, a UCLA swagger. But this game that was played in Anaheim, in UCLA’s metro area and the site of four victories and no defeats last season as the Bruins floated from one borrowed home to another while Pauley Pavilion was being renovated, was called the Wooden Classic. The name alone makes it UCLA’s house. Teams in other uniforms are visitors, no matter how short the drive.

And then, San Diego State, both team and fans, stormed the gates and captured the fort.

The game was a 78-69 victory for the Aztecs, and no one should be surprised. Steve Fisher’s bunch is long, athletic and ready to make a prime push for a deep NCAA Tournament run behind Mountain West preseason Player of the Year Jamaal Franklin.

But UCLA fans, at least in their hey-day, traveled insanely well. Almost to Kentucky basketball numbers. They won and they made sure you heard about it afterward.

There’s definitely a stigma that comes with losing, and a majority of fanbases feel it. No one wants to travel to a game that no one thinks their team will win.

This one though, is on Howland. He’s a has way too much going on within this program. Some thought that purging a few players off a few bad teams might help, and that verdict is still out. But regardless, if the fans stop showing up, that is the first sign that a coach could be on his way out. Money makes everything go in major college sports.

No wins? No fans. No fans? No money. No money? No big contracts. And even more importantly, no job.

David Harten is the editor of The Backboard Chronicles. You can follow him on Twitter at @David_Harten.