My take on Alford is UCLA's defense got progressively worse...


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Posted by Born2BBruin on July 10, 2018 at 10:09:05

each season since he became coach.

Alford came to UCLA with a reputation for being able to coach defense. His teams at New Mexico averaged between 91 and 97 points per 100 possessions and generally improved from year to year. His 2006 Iowa team led the country in Defensive Efficiency, giving up only 85.6 points per 100 possessions.

With the exception of 2014, none of Alford's UCLA teams have come close to playing that kind of defense. Of course, most of the players on that team were recruited and taught how to play defense by Ben Howland (whose firing I had no problem with).

2015 DE 098.2
2016 DE 101.9
2017 DE 100.4
2018 DE 101.4

Last year's results were especially galling. Given the zero-D minutes played by Bryce Alford and Isaac Hamilton in 2017, the addition by subtraction and influx of athleticism alone should have led to an improved defense.

But the Bruins' DE actually got worse by a full point.

Of course, the natural rejoinder is last year's team was too inexperienced.

According to kenpom.com, that team averaged 1.43 years of experience. That's actually the most experience of any of Alford's UCLA teams (tied with 2017).

And here are the 2018 teams that had less experience than UCLA and were able to play better (sometimes much better) defense than the Bruins (NCAA tournament teams in bold:

Alabama
Auburn
Bradley
BYU
Colorado
Duke
Harvard
Kentucky
Maryland
Miami FL
Michigan St.

Mississippi St.
Northeastern
Oklahoma
Oregon
Oregon St.
San Francisco
Stanford
Syracuse
Tennessee
Texas

UC Irvine
Villanova
Washington
Wisconsin

Defense doesn't necessarily win championships but not playing defense doesn't win anything.

The time has come and gone for Alford to go. I would have fired him last year. Purely based on results.

Nothing he's done so far gives any credence to the hope that this year, or next, will be better.


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