BruinInDenver flagged this in the fanshots:
Duke and UCLA are finalizing details for a game in late December at Madison Square Garden, per multiple sources. Date is still TBD.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) May 8, 2013
At first blush the idea of UCLA playing Duke in basketball sounds like fun. Two blue blood programs going at it in the Big Apple. But, if you think about it strategically it doesn't make any sense to schedule this game next season - Steve Alford's first year at UCLA - for number of reasons:
- Duke once again will have a strong team next year, which will most likely be contending for an ACC title and look to make a run in the Big Dance. UCLA by contrast currently has something like 6 scholarship players at roster, who may form a talented core but will probably be most likely be nothing more than first round tourney team (well we should at least get to the tournament).
- Duke taking on UCLA in NYC will basically be a home game for the Blue Devils who have a massive concentration of alums in the Tri State area or in the North East in general. This is basically like UCLA taking on Duke in one the venues in Bay Area. Scheduling this game would have made sense if Duke made a commitment to take on UCLA in the Wooden Classic in Anaheim (at least that's how a smart and savvy athletic director would try to approach it).
- If Duke wins this game comfortably (and I am guessing we will have some Duke shills like Duke Vitale and Dukee alums like Jay Bilas broadcasting this game) it will only enable blowhards like Vitale and Bilas to further wax poetic about the greatness of Mike Krzyzewski, drawing comparisons to Wooden, while turning UCLA and Alford into nothing more than an afterthought.
Basically scheduling this game with no return date to Southern California (or California) for Duke is akin to scheduling Texas to play in the Cowboy stadium with no return engagement for the Longhorns. It reeks of stupidity and lack of strategic thinking from Guerrero and his clueless staff.
If this scheduling is finalized, no doubt we will hear the stupid spin from UCLA AD about how this is about tradition and the Bruins' are not afraid to play anyone anywhere, but given the reasons above it wouldn't be in the best interest of the program. It would take place at a sensitive time for Alford who at this time appears to be not exactly lighting up the recruiting world - whiffing on remaining of '13 recruits, not landing any key transfers and not locking in any elite recruits for '14 just yet. And, we still have no idea what kind of coach he can be in a major D-1 conference. And if Guerrero, Alford are going into this game looking for a "moral victory" it would be nothing more than the same pathetic Karl Dorrellian mindset that set UCLA football program back for almost a decade.