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Rejecting The Obnoxious "All Or Nothing" Narrative

I wanted to build on Class of 66’s masterful post on reasonable expectations since we can expect a lot of this "all or nothing" narrative  in the coming days from many outlets in the MSM (which may influence certain segments in the fanbase):

It was a topic of discussion two weeks ago, on and around Selection Sunday. If UCLA was to make it back to the Final Four for a third consecutive year, and lost, would it be branded a failure?

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, the only one of the Bruins who will start in the national semifinals three years in a row, said that he expects a different result this time around and if they don't bring home a 12th NCAA championship then, yes, this season will have been a loss.

"Yeah, definitely," he said. "I personally feel that way and I know the rest of my teammates do, too. We've been there and we have the experience and everything.

"Anything less than a national championship would be a failure for us again. And, you know UCLA, they definitely expect a national championship again. Anything less than that would be a failure for the season."
I don't fault LRMAM or any of his team-mates for providing that kind of quote. LRMAM and other Ben Ball warriors are saying the right thing about how at UCLA we always expect a national championship.

However, what we should not tolerate is for anyone to attempt to brand this team as some kind of "failure" should the outcome not come out to our liking in San Antonio.

That is unacceptable and we will not tolerate that kind of spoiled sense of entitlement here on Bruins Nation. Let me echo what Coach Howland stated following the Xavier game this past weekend (emphasis added throughout):
[H]ere is what UCLA coach Ben Howland said when asked if the season would be a disappointment if the Bruins did not win the national title.
"That would be very arrogant for me to ever suggest that if you go to a Final Four and don't win it all, that it's a failure,'' he said. "I don't buy that for a minute. This is a very difficult thing to do. I know it's seemingly common place because it's three times in a row.''
Once again the coach is on the mark.

Just how difficult it is to close the deal in the Final-4? Well let's go through some of the Mt. Rushmorian names in college hoops. Shall we?

It took Coach Dean Smith at least 5 tries before he won a NC.

It took Coach Roy Williams 4 tries in the Final-4 to win a NC (he went 0-3 in the Final-4 as the head coach of the Jayhawks).

It also took Coach K 4 trips to the Final-4 before winning the NC at Duke. Coach Tom Izzo is only batting 1 for 4 in these appearances.

And guess what? None of those coaches and their Final-4 seasons that didn't end in a banner are deemed as "failures." Thankfully at least Robyn Norwood in the LA Times gets the point:
[I]f UCLA doesn't win the NCAA title, some people will anoint Howland the latest Coach Who Can't Win the Big One.

He shouldn't worry. The famous alumni of the Can't Win the Big One Club include North Carolina's Roy Williams, Syracuse's Jim Boeheim, Arizona's Lute Olson -- and before them all, North Carolina's Dean Smith.

As Smith famously said when he finally won his first title in 1982, "I'm not any better a coach than I was 2 1/2 hours ago."

Boeheim echoed those words the night he won the title in 2003.
So, it would be absurd and preposterous for anyone to set the table next few days as going to San Antonio is some kind of all or nothing proposition for Coach Howland and our warriors.

Sure our players will say the politically right thing as to how at UCLA we only hang NC banners. However, we shouldn't use their words to accept the MSM narrative that these Final-4s don't mean anything unless we win the NC.

Every single one of Coach Howland's Final-4 appearances have been special. They signify how Coach Howland has reestablished UCLA basketball as one of the elite program (if not the premiere one) in the post Wooden era of college basketball. And I don't believe that the window is closing for us after this year.

So before we get on with this week, let's not even think about accepting and advancing the obnoxious and arrogant MSM narrative about how San Antonio is an "all or nothing" proposition for our Ben Ball warriors.

I know with Coach Howland in charge no matter what happens in San Antonio this weekend, we are going to come back with another great team next year, which will give us everything they have, building on the incredible foundation that Coach Howland has established in his first five magical years in Westwood.

Now that's out of the way back to the excitement of getting all hyped for Saturday.


UPDATE: Didn't see this Roy Williams quote from yesterday, who also makes our point:
Williams on UCLA's accomplishments

"It's mind-boggling. On your staff, we're coming back on the bus and one of the guys said, Coach, this is four of the last seven years we've been in the Final Four. And I said, that is unbelievably hard, but Ben Howland has been there three years in a row. It's mind-boggling what Ben's done. It's extremely impressive. And, guys, this is hard to do. And to be able to do that three years in a row is just mind-boggling. I don't have enough adjectives, enough vocabulary to describe it."

And also note Coach Howland didn't inherit a program stacked with talent like Williams did at UNC and Self did at KU. I want to add one final note. Like many others I will be disappointed if things don't go our way this weekend. However, as mentioned above and through the comment threads our disappointment will do nothing to take away the incredible accomplishment under the Caretaker of Westwood. GO BRUINS. -N