Ladies and gentlemen, UCLA's Ben Howland era is officially over.
As the Bruins were thoroughly destroyed by the Minnesota Gophers, 83-63, on Friday night, the writing was on the wall: This team had given up. The players, the coaches – they understood this was a last-stand type of deal, and they gave up.
Perhaps if this team had a better bench, or hell, Jordan Adams, we'd be talking about a different outcome. That's not the case, though, as UCLA shot a horrifying 31 percent from the floor en route to a blowout loss that never really felt close.
Instead, Minnesota responded to every UCLA out-burst with a buckets that came in pairs, either from the perimeter or down low. Shooting 51 percent from the floor, while asssiting on 19 of their buckets and turning over the ball 11 times, Minnesota dominated the game from the outset, and led by double-digits at the half.
With the win, Minnesota advances to take on Florida and Tubby Smith lives to see another day as head coach of the Gophers. Meanwhile, UCLA faces an extreme amount of uncertainty, with primary head coaching targets Shaka Smart and Brad Stevens in the midst of their own NCAA tournament runs. This is all while Dan Guerrero's job is on the line, his contract being up on March 31, 2013.
Things are going to get interested in Westwood. Time to roll the dice on the UCLA Bruins.