The UCLA Bruins just cannot get back on track, both on and off the court. Just a few years removed from multiple Final Four appearances under Ben Howland, many of the Bruins faithful are considering the fact that Howland's days in Westwood may be limited due to the team struggling in recent years. There is plenty of cause for concerns with the Bruins.
While playing away from their normal home at Pauley Pavilion, UCLA has played in front of minuscule crowds in Los Angeles due to a lack of interest from the fan base. Josh Smith, one of the highest rated prospects to ever come into the program, refuses to get in shape and holds his team back because of it. Players have left early for the NBA and Europe for various reasons, and recruiting will likely take a hit in the coming years because of it.
Now, on Wednesday, Sports Illustrated will release a report that will supposedly expose former players for drug use.
So what does this mean for the Bruins going forward? While we do not yet know all the details of the report from SI, a considerable amount of PR work may have to be done, to say the least. It will undoubtably be an embarrassing day for the basketball program and those who support it and it will require a team effort to save face with the media.
As for this season, just one week of conference play remains before UCLA will head to Staples Center for the Pac-12 Tournament. The only chance the team has to make the NCAA Tournament is by winning the tournament, which will not be easy. Tough times are about to hit the Bruins and nothing would be more satisfying for this group of players than a conference championship.