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UCLA Basketball: Sporting News Not Impressed

Sporting News' preseason rankings are out. Don't bother looking for the Bruins.

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Streeter Lecka

My apologies in advance. I know we're all feeling pretty good about football for the past week, but unfortunately it's October now, and that means the Halloween horror show that is Steve Alford's tenure is about to rear its ugly head once again.

As a reminder of that fact, the preseason rankings are beginning to trickle out, and the latest comes from Sporting News. What do they think of a team that could only manage to flame out in the Steve 16 last year despite having three now-departed first round NBA draft picks on the team? Not much apparently.

1 Arizona Wildcats
2 Kentucky Wildcats
3 Wisconsin Badgers
4 Duke Blue Devils
5 North Carolina Tar Heels
6 Kansas Jayhawks
7 Louisville Cardinals
8 Virginia Cavaliers
9 Florida Gators
10 Wichita State Shockers
11 Villanova Wildcats
12 Texas Longhorns
13 Gonzaga Bulldogs
14 Iowa State Cyclones
15 Connecticut Huskies
16 San Diego State Aztecs
17 Virginia Commonwealth Rams
18 Michigan State Spartans
19 Oklahoma Sooners
20 Utah Utes
21 Ohio State Buckeyes
22 Nebraska Cornhuskers
23 Syracuse Orange
24 Harvard Crimson
25 SMU Mustangs

Blue blood programs (Arizona, Duke, UNC, Kansas, Louisville, Florida)? Check.

Southern California school? Check.

Two Pac-12 teams? Check.

Goody! So where's UCLA ranked then?

I guess the #Daddyball led Bruins just aren't doing it for the Sporting News, but that's really no surprise. Those that still have the stomach to watch this might get spun up in anticipation of that matchup with Kentucky, the Wildcats themselves will have bigger fish to fry.

Notable games on the schedule: Nov. 18 vs. Kansas (in Indianapolis); Dec. 5 vs. Texas; Dec. 13 vs. North Carolina; Dec. 27 at Louisville; Feb. 7 at Florida.

None of this is to say that TIARA has an excuse for not challenging Arizona for P12 supremacy, finishing at least in the upper middle of that table above, and making a deeper run into the tournament. He doesn't. Not when he gets paid more money than all but six other college basketball coaches in the country. That's the performance remaining Bruin fans need to expect. Anything less is cop-out, excuse-making, loser talk. I think we recognize that these performance goals aren't likely to be reached. Tough luck. Those are the expectations. This is the bed TIARA made with his recruiting and personnel decisions last year, and now he has to lay in it.