The UCLA men’s basketball team, off to its hottest start in a decade, has now even gotten the attention of The Gray Lady itself.
The New York Times, though impressed by the Bruins' hot start, is really wondering why they aren’t packing ‘em in every night in Pauley Pavilion.
Only once in eight home games have the Bruins played to a sold-out crowd, against Michigan this month. They are averaging 8,645 fans — nearly 5,000 below their famed arena’s capacity of approximately 13,570.
Los Angeles attendance issues may be curious to the Times’ readership (that aren’t SoCal ex-pats) and recruiting fodder for Sean Miller, but Bruin fans know that Los Angeles isn’t quite like Lawrence, KS.
"It’s an L.A. thing in a general sense," said U.C.L.A.’s athletic director, Dan Guerrero, who was encouraged that Wednesday’s game drew 10,695, the second-largest crowd this season, on a rainy night during the holiday break. One of Guerrero’s frustrations is that many empty seats close to center court — and visible on TV — have been sold, but those who bought them chose not to come.
"In L.A., it’s known to most that you need to be relevant," Guerrero said. "If you’re relevant, people will show up."
If Alford’s team can convert the fanbase into believers again—and he may just be doing that, for now—they will show up.
I'd like to see some more ball pressure, but honestly, if UCLA's going to be averaging in the neighborhood of 95 points, then the style it's going with right now is working. On a micro-level, yes, the team is going to need significant stretches in big games where it's capable of making stops. But I don't think UCLA being an average team on defense will prevent it from winning a national title.
Strive to be better, but don't screw with the formula. This is UCLA's best start in more than 20 years.
Aaron Holiday pieces have come in droves during the holiday season on the order of punny headline writers and columnists around the Southland. Jeff Miller of the OC Register registers his holiday Holiday piece. Peace.
To end, LaMelo Ball—probably not a habit to take into Division 1 basketball—calling his shot and making it from the stripe (and I’m not talking about the free throw stripe)...