The UCLA Bruins might not just lose a lot this season if they keep on struggling on the basketball court. They might lose the next season or two by striking out on the recruiting trail. Matt Norlander of CBS Sports speculates that UCLA's struggles on the court could affect who ends up signing with them in the next few months, particularly top recruit Shabazz Muhammad of Bishop Gorman.
Indeed, it'd be tough for UCLA to land Muhammad if their struggles continue. Muhammad projects to only stick around Westwood for one or two seasons, and there's no incentive for him to go to a location that couldn't contend for a national championship. The only thing that'd be guaranteed for him is playing time, but he'd probably end up playing whereever he went. So the Bruins would probably suffer a downgrade.
Who could benefit the most? The Kentucky Wildcats.
Shabazz has already said he likes UK head coach John Calipari, which could give the Wildcats a needed edge in the race. And Kentucky (unlike UCLA) is doing anything but whimpering, roaring to an early impressive start (including a big victory against Kansas in Madison Square Garden). UCLA might need to recover in a hurry to make up any competitive ground.
For more on UCLA basketball, head to Bruins Nation.