Numbers Don't Lie: Why UCLA Had to Fire Ben Howland

Ronald Martinez



Re-posted from Bomani Jones: A Sports Media Figure Making Sense of Ben Howland and UCLA Basketball

Not only the lack of wins, but the margin of defeat is humiliating

Cumulative margin of victory over 5 years = +3
Cumulative margin of defeat over 5 years = -48
Total over 5 years = -45 points

UCLA = 2 wins, -45
Arizona = 7 wins, +45
Connecticut = 10 wins, +141
Duke = 11 wins, +132
Florida = 7 wins, +133
Indiana = 3 wins, +24
Kansas = 12 wins, +118
Kentucky = 13 wins, +158
Louisville = 9 wins, +114
Michigan = 4 wins, +56
Michigan State = 13 wins, +94
North Carolina = 13 wins, +183
Ohio State = 10 wins, +154
Pittsburgh = 5 wins, +45
Syracuse = 10 wins, +137
Butler = 11 wins, +56
VCU = 7 wins, +73

Is it enough to qualify for the Tournament when you proceed to fail miserably when it counts?

Statistically speaking, the average # of tournament games won (since 2009) by the teams sampled is 8.6, with a standard deviation of 3.6 games.
The cumulative scoring margin of those teams is, on average, +95 points, with a standard deviation of 59 points.

UCLA comes in at 2 games won, and a -45 point margin. This is not a short-term anomaly of falling on the lower half of the bell curve.
The running average over 5 years shows that UCLA has consistently underperformed 'successful' programs by almost 2 standard deviations when it matters most.

To put it in perspective, we would need to win our next Tournament game by 69 points just to equal the 2nd lowest team on the list.
Would this be tolerated by any other fan-base?

LVBruin provides additional data including regular-season results:

Ammunition against Howlers and other such folk

Seen above is a quantified representation of Ben Howland’s failure over the last five season. I put this together last night in response to the myriad uninformed fans complaining about the outrageous demands of the UCLA fan base.

The graph shows how we have performed over the last five years in comparison to the other blue blood programs of college hoops (get it through your thick skulls people, we don’t need to win 8 titles in a row, we just want to be as competitive as the other top shelf programs). The first column is just cumulative wins. The second column represents cumulative tournament results. I utilized the old bracket challenge point system, giving teams one point for every first round win, two points for second round wins and so on (quick math: a championship=21 points).

Note how close those top four teams are to one another, even with UNC "struggles" of late. I left the gap between us and UNC to represent the many teams that surely would rank ahead of us if I were to crunch the numbers for all of D1.

And of course, Indiana comes in below us due to the terrible season they experienced prior to Crean.

<em>This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of BruinsNation's (BN) editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of BN's editors.</em>

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