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Bruins Nation Prepares For A New Era Of UCLA Basketball

Over at Bruins Nation, SB Nation’s UCLA blog, Nestor writes that the loss confirms what many UCLA fans already suspected would be the case for a team that lost three of their best players from last season in Darren Collison, Josh Shipp and Jrue Holiday.

Going into this year I was hoping for a 20 win season and making into the tournament. However, after a box score like last night, it seems like we all would be well advised to recalibrate our expectations and wake up to a new reality in the world of Ben Ball.

UCLA has had a pretty incredible past four years, making it to the Final Four three times in a row before last year’s second-round NCAA Tournament loss. But sustaining that success can be incredibly tough for even the very best programs. As Nestor writes, the loss to Cal State Fullerton proves that UCLA might have to go through some growing pains that may last an entire season before they can get back to the top again.

It is going to be a long season no doubt and as mentioned above we are now living in a new reality this season in which Coach Howland is essentially starting from scratch in trying to build a tournament caliber basketball team. Forget placing 3rd in the Pac-10. Given the data points we now have from three contests, it sounds like it will be a huge struggle to post a winning record in this conference (even during its down year). So let’s hope the kids who are in this team right now work their rear ends off and fight like their predecessors such as [Arron Afflalo], [Jordan Farmar] and [Josh Shipp] did when they arrived in Westwood. If they give it everything they have, the journey is going to be fun to watch. In the mean time we just have to buckle up and get ready for a painful roller coaster ride through the entire season. Like I said, it’s a new reality in the world of Ben Ball.