UCLA's Basketball RPI and Football Grade

How far down is the PAC 10 in basketball?  Try 11 in the RPI.  How bad is that?  The Mountain West is again on pace to get more teams to the NCAA Tournament than the Pac 10. In an article entitled: "Pac-10 envious of success involving Brigham Young and Mountain West" the Tuscon Citizen blames UCLA as one of the biggest reasons for this:  

History suggests as UCLA goes, so goes the Pac-10. Since the NCAA tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1984-85, the Bruins have failed to qualify six times, including last season. In those six years, the average number of Pac-10 teams that advanced to the NCAA tournament is only three, the lowest figure among conference teams.

The article gives a lot of reasons for UCLA failures but the fact is the excuses are stale.  They can be applied to last year but this year UCLA and the PAC 10 need to be better.

More on the embarrassing RPI numbers after the jump from the same article.

The Pac-10 has suffered embarrassing losses to Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) killers such as San Jose State, Seattle University, Texas Southern, Rider, Utah Valley State and Tulsa. UCLA lost to Virginia Commonwealth in Madison Square Garden — for all the East-based media too see — in addition to its monumental setback against Montana at home.

The conference, ranked a woeful No. 11 by one RPI service, also has an 0-5 record vs. top 10 RPI teams Kansas (which defeated Arizona in Las Vegas and UCLA in Lawrence), Kentucky (defeated Washington in the Maui Invitational), Duke (beat Oregon in Eugene), and San Diego State (won at Cal Wednesday night).

The conference has played 25 games against top 100 RPI teams. Its record is 8-17. In terms of RPI rankings, the league’s best wins are USC over No. 33 Texas last week and — don’t laugh — Washington and Washington State against No. 54 Portland. Just a notch below those is Oregon’s upset of No. 57 North Dakota State.

When the Conference's best wins are over North Dakota State that is a strong sign we are going to again get only two teams in the tournament.  As a practical matter, that means only the Pac 10 tournament winner (the automatic bid) and the regular season champ.  On the latter, if there is a tie, don't expect the NCAA to honor the PAC 10 formula for determining who is first but rather take the higher RPI. 

Bottom line for UCLA, we need to win the rest of its OC schedule and must beat BYU.  Then it looks likely UCLA must do very well in the PAC 10 just to have a chance at the tourney. 

Two numbers from the losing streak.  UCLA is 0-3 when Tyler Honeycutt shoots less than 50% and 3-1 win he shoots 50% or more.  The one loss is Kansas.  A key is Tyler's shooting. 

Some more frightening numbers from the 4 game losing streak are those of Zeke Jones.  Zeke, our starting PG, has 0 assists in the last two games.  Against Kansas the offense often ran through Nelson but still 0 assists for the starting PG?!?  Zeke also has 4 fouls twice and 5 once in the the four game losing streak.  Zeke does not need to be the star but he does need to play better. 

FOOTBALL GRADE

Bruinsnation favorite UCLA beat writer Jon Gold weighed in with his season ending recap story grading CRN and the results were in line with what many at BN have been saying, especially with regard to needing to win 8 (and beating Southern Cal) next year.

But seven wins might not be good enough next season, not after 29 losses in four years, the highest four-year loss total in program history.

Neuheisel talks like a man who knows he is dangling on the precipice. He discusses certain points in the season with a look of pure regret. He was crushed by losing junior defensive end Datone Jones and junior center Kai Maiava to injury during fall practice, then losing junior offensive lineman Jeff Baca to grades. He can't forget the two season-opening losses, at Kansas State and a 35-0 loss at home to Stanford.

He negotiates some of the midseason troubles, chief among them a 35-7 loss at Cal, when he lost starting sophomore quarterback Kevin Prince for the season, and a 60-13 loss at Oregon in sophomore quarterback Richard Brehaut's second career start. He especially laments a 1-3 collapse after a momentary rebirth and a last-second win over Oregon State in Week 9 that put the Bruins at 4-5 and on the verge of a turnaround.

Then comes Gold's damming grade of D- for UCLA's coaches which he explains by saying:

As captain, ultimately Rick Neuheisel gets the blame for the product on the field, which resulted in second eight-loss season out of three at the helm. But first mates Norm Chow and Chuck Bullough didn't help, seemingly alternating poor performances.

This is a low period in UCLA sports history right now.  No way around it.  It is time to stop making excuses and start getting it together. 

Go Bruins!

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