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Many Prominent Programs Struggling

But no one is having more of a nightmare season than UCLA.

Bill Walton, who helped run off Ben Howland, may be tempted to go after Steve Alford after the Utah game.
Bill Walton, who helped run off Ben Howland, may be tempted to go after Steve Alford after the Utah game.
Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

We're at a point in the season where we can look around and see who's struggling around the country. In no particular order:

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  • Memphis (8-5)
  • UConn (7-5)
  • George Mason (6-7)
  • Michigan State (10-5)
  • Michigan (8-6)
  • Florida (7-6)
  • UCLA (8-7)

Memphis' play has alienated fans and that's sort of the bottom line: if people won't buy tickets, the coach will be gone soon. Josh Pastner, consider yourself warned.

Having won last year's title, UConn gets a pass this year, but 7-5 is not very UConn-ish.

Say this for Michigan State: they will not go gentle into that good night. Some of the losses are understandable: Duke and Notre Dame, for instance. Texas Southern makes no sense whatsoever. An injury to Brendan Dawson won't help.

Michigan has really struggled as well. After barely beating an erratic Syracuse, the Wolverines lost four straight, including one nightmare loss to NJIT.

At George Mason, Paul Hewitt had a nice start, winning 45 games in his first two seasons.

Last year though George Mason fell to 11-20 and so far this season is 6-7.

Florida has had some injuries and so on but 7-6 is far below the standard Billy Donovan has established.

But perhaps the worst situation is at UCLA.

The Bruins went to Kentucky for their epic whooping at 8-3.

At that point the losses were to Oklahoma, UNC and Gonzaga.

Since the Kentucky destruction, UCLA has not won a game, lsoing to Alabama, Colorado and Utah. That's five straight, including the losses to Gonzaga and Kentucky.

After the loss to Utah, though, the UK loss doesn't look quite as devastating: Utah beat the snot out of the Bruins too, winning by 71-39.

Just as a comparison, against UK UCLA shot 26.8%; against Utah 28.8%.

It wasn't quite as bad perhaps, but it came against a lesser team.

It also provides some perspective about Kentucky's big wins over UCLA, UNC and Kansas, none of whom are particularly outstanding so far this season.