Bumping an old fanpost from N last Feburary that is salient today. UNC bounces back from a tourney less season with a conference championship and an Elite Eight. Arizona does the same. UConn essentially did the same with an unprecedented run in the Big East tournament and a run to the Elite 8. That's how powerhouse programs come back from down season. It underscores how Roy Williams is at a different level than Ben Howland, a point missed by some on BN and elsewhere last season. - A
A number of Bruin fans are trying to find some kind of false sense of comfort by pointing to the struggles North Carolina is experiencing this season. Don't do that because that is not a smart comparison. It is comparing apples to oranges.
First of all, Roy Williams is in a whole different situation because he has won 2 NCs in last 5 years. As much as I love our 3 straight Final-4s and Pac-10 championships under Ben Howland, I believe winning banners give a coach whole different kind of breathing room.
Secondly, arguing that UCLA and UNC are similarly situated this season doesn't have a lot of merit considering the plight of PAthetiC-10. Our conference arguably is going through its worst year in about three our four decades and will probably set a record this season for a regular season conference champion with most losses. As of right now, North Carolina still has a winning record (13-10). They are number 62 per KenPom's site and are probably looking at an NIT bid. Meanwhile, UCLA has a record of 11-12, at number 116 on KenPom (sandwiched between Detroit and Utah) and is looking to close out a regular season in which it will be slightly favored in just two games (against Oregon schools at home).
Moreover, ACC per Kenpom is the highest rated conference in the country with a rating of .9091. Pac-10 not surprisingly is 6th best with a rating of .7940, barely ahead of MWC. If UCLA played in the ACC this season, I doubt we win more than 2 games during the regular season.
There is no shame in having down seasons in this age of college basketball, which has been ravaged by the one and done rule.UNC is having a down year. Yet, they will most likely finish on an up note without any damage to Roy Williams's recruiting credibility and his overall track record. Ben Howland will not have the same luxury if UCLA ends up having a losing season.
It will not be acceptable for UCLA to have a losing season under any circumstances. It only happened twice after departure of Coach Wooden (Lavin's last and Howland's first), both of whom can be directly attributed to the incompetency of Steve Lavin. Even if both UNC and UCLA ends up cratering to losing seasons this year, as mentioned up top, Roy Williams will be in much better position to quickly rebuild because of his overall trackrecord in which he has shown ability to rebuild and maintain great programs.
As for Ben Howland, he has a great track record of rebuilding a program, yet it remains to be seen whether he can rebuild a program, which he is responsible for cratering on his own. As I said, right now it doesn't make a lot of sense to look for comfort by comparing UNC and UCLA, two programs who are situated very differently this season despite their respective W-L record.