Ucla Basketball Tickets - Is A Sleeping Giant Awakening?

By: Jay Nault

UCLA basketball tickets have long been special for many, many reasons. When you think of sports dynasties, you think of Lombardi's Packers, Auerbach's Celtics, the Yankees of several eras and the Montreal Canadiens. Wooden's Bruins can stand up to every one of them and then some. Listing all of the legendary players of UCLA lore would be too numerous for this forum, but rest assured that an entire wing of the Hall of Fame could be filled with UCLA alumni.

However, in recent decades, the Bruins, compared to the almost unattainable standard history had set, was not achieving at their historic levels. They did break through for an NCAA title in 1995, but other than that, Westwood's trophy case has not had any recent additions in recent times.

That could all be changing right before our eyes, as the 2007 Bruins are beginning to look like the great Bruin teams of old. They advanced all the way to the NCAA Final last year before losing a tough game to Florida, and so far this season, it looks as though they haven't missed a beat. There are reasons for this resurgence, and we'll examine a couple of them below.

Ben Howland

When Howland took over at UCLA in 2003, the Bruins had officially fallen on hard times. They had become one of those teams that always seemed to recruit well, but they were at best a hit-or-miss bubble team for the NCAA Tournament. UCLA basketball tickets were actually quite easy to find for most games, and the Bruin faithful were down in the dumps.

Howland came aboard and instilled several things that the program had been missing. The first element was discipline. Howland's teams never give a game away, and that was a hallmark of his teams at Pittsburgh before he came to Westwood. He also put together a roster that actually played hard-nosed defense, which was not something UCLA had been known for in recent years. There were even whispers that UCLA was "soft," and that was unacceptable for everyone involved with the program.

The Right Kind of Talent

Under Howland, the program stopped simply chasing all the five-star recruits it could gather and began to build a team that together would become a unit that covered all the moving parts a successful squad needs. They added scoring and athleticism, of course, but they also added defense, rebounding, guards that could dribble and distribute, and several role players who take care of all the "little" things that win games in the end but may not show up on the stat sheet.

What it All Means

What this all means is that with the talent, consistency and stability that once again exists at UCLA, the team will be able to sell its own tradition and history to recruits, and it's beginning to look like every year should be one when UCLA should contend for the Final Four. The fans in Westwood wouldn't expect anything less, and UCLA basketball tickets are once again nearly impossible to find.

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