Bumped. GO BRUINS. -N
With UCLA having suffered an early exit from this year's tourney, we UCLA fans are bound to run into a joker or two who will try to denigrate our program as having amounted to nothing since the retirement of John R. Wooden shortly after UCLA won its 10th national championship in 1975. I heard from one of those jokers today, so I did a little research and learned some fun facts that might help you if you encounter these Bruin-haters.
Before getting into the data, it is important to note that I do not subscribe to a theory that college basketball began in 1975-76 (Year 1 AW (After Wooden)), or in 1985 (Year 1 of the 64- now 65-team field). The previous years are meaningful. Morevoer, no one would suggest that Duke fans should be forced to remove the Coach K years or UNC to remove Dean Smith's tenure or Indiana to remove Bobby Knight's success from any discussion of which program is the greatest.. That being said, if we were to pretend that college basketball began when Coach retired, UCLA holds up very well against other programs and has clearly been, in this 34-year stretch, one of the 5 or 6 elite programs in the country.
Since Wooden retired, UCLA has:
- won 13 conference titles, which ranks 4th behind UNC (17), Kansas (16), Kentucky (14).
- appeared in 27 NCAA tournaments, which ranks tied for 4th (with Arizona, Louisville, Kansas and Kentucky) behind UNC (32), Indiana (28) and Duke (28).
- been to 6 Final 4s, which ranks tied for 4th behind Duke (11), UNC (11) and Kansas (7) have been to more)
- won 1 championship, which ranks tied for 10th behind Kentucky, Indiana, UNC and Duke (3 each), and Louisville, Kansas, Florida, UConn, Michigan State, (2 each)
So, in the last 34 years, we rank 4th nationally in 3 of the 4 categories involving major accomplishments, and we're two national championships away from being at the top of that category. Only UNC has done more in every category. We've even handicapped ourselves (or you could say that Pete Dalis handicapped us) during this period by having 7 years of Hair Gel and 7 more with Farmer and Hazzard at the helm. That's a pretty phenomenal record since Wooden retired, a record that about 340 Division I teams would gladly trade with us. Indeed, if you are as optimistic as I am, you have to believe that the next 10 years will have at least one more and maybe as many as 2 more titles for the Bruins (I say 2 because no team has won more than 2 titles in any 10 year period since Wooden retired), which would move our national ranking even higher. If you wanted to assign points for these accomplishments based on their significance, I would use something like 1 for a tourney appearance, 2 for a conference championship, 3 for a Final 4 and 5 for a championship (recognizing that a national championship would actually be worth 9 because it is a tourney and Final 4 appearance) UCLA would rank 5th:
- UNC 114
- Duke: 99
- Kansas: 90
- Kentucky: 88
- UCLA: 76
- Indiana: 74
So, next time someone says, what has UCLA done since Wooden retired, you'll be well armed. Of course, in our universe and any other that includes Woden, any argument about greatness in college basketball can be won merely by saying 4 words: UCLA, Wooden. Alcindor, Walton. If you prefer more detail:
- 43 tournament appearances (2nd to Kentucky (50)
- 18 Final Fours (1st)
- 11 championships (1st)
- 99 tournament wins (2nd to Kentucky (100), but could fall behind UNC this year (99))
- 40 Conference Championships
- 1,642 wins
- 10 consecutive Final 4s (most ever)
- 37 First Team All Americans
- 31 First Round NBA Draft Picks