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Bruin Bites: No March Madness for UCLA Edition

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"Hey Ben, we're playing in March Madness this year.  What about you?!"
"Hey Ben, we're playing in March Madness this year. What about you?!"

Kind of interesting how less interesting this tournament becomes when UCLA is no longer in it. Although, it has been interesting to note how programs like Michigan State are able to rebound from their "bad year" (when they still made the tournament) and secure a protected #1 seed and (so far) look set to make it to at least the Elite Eight, if not the Final Four (and possibly win the whole thing). I mean, it's pretty unusual for UCLA to not be in it. Here's an interesting statistic for the day:

Since Coach Wooden retired following the 1974-1975 season, UCLA has missed March Madness 9 times; in 37 seasons since the end of the Wooden era, UCLA made the NCAA tournament 28 times.

Only nine times have the Bruins not made March Madness. Larry Farmer owns two of those misses (1981-82, 1983-84); Walt Hazzard owns three of them (1984-85, 1985-86, 1987-88); Steve Lavin has only one (2002-03) and just two if you count Howland's first season (2003-04) as being due to Lavin.

Ben Howland? He's now the proud owner of two UCLA basketball seasons with no NCAA tournament (2009-10, 2011-12) and perhaps three, if you count his first season following Lavin (2002-03).

Everyone wants to give Ben more time and more rope because he took us to three Final Fours, as if that should mean something at UCLA, the school where only national titles are hung in the rafters at Pauley Pavilion. If we go down that road, where does it lead? It leads to the mentality "hey, he got us to the Sweet Sixteen consistently, so we should keep him" (Lavin) or worse: "hey, we're in the tournament every year, we should keep this coach around." That's all well and good at a middling program like Cal or North Carolina State (both of whom are actually made the tournament, unlike our hapless Bruins), but this is UCLA, one of the blue-bloods of college hoops.

If Kentucky doesn't win the national title, that's a disappointing season. Same for North Carolina, Duke, Kansas, and Michigan State. Why is that not the standard for the program with more titles than all of those other programs?

In any event, the current state of affairs at UCLA, both in basketball and throughout the athletic department is completely unacceptable and should result in only one thing: the immediate termination of Chianti Dan Guerrero. And with that said, let's take a look at the bits and pieces of news floating around the UCLA-iverse as we watch (kind of) March Madness unfold without our Bruins in the mix, after the jump.

Alright folks, those are your Bruin Bites for the beginning of the week as we wait for the Sweet Sixteen to get underway without our UCLA Bruins. Geez, even Lavin got us this far in the tournament. Just saying.