Alford's odds: Records, spans of the eight post-Wooden UCLA coaches

Steve Alford has potential to make his mark on UCLA basketball, but there are pitfalls ahead. (AP)

In the nearly two scores since John Wooden retired, UCLA basketball has remained a relevant, important program in the greater spectrum of its sport. But it's never returned to those glory days, and from a practical standpoint, it never will. No school can. Programs reeling off even five straight titles or four in six years -- let alone eight straight, like Wooden's Bruins did -- is something for the past and the past alone.

UCLA continues its quest for the man who can bring it as close to the Wooden days as possible, though. The school's won just one national title since -- in 1995 -- and made six Final Fours in 38 years. Steve Alford's set to take over, and he'll be the latest man assigned to attempt to live and coach as close to the glory of the ghost that is the "Wizard of Westwood."

History will not be on his side. Here's the roster of the men who've roamed the sidelines at Pauley Pavilion since Wooden retired. Every one failed to win a national title except Jim Harrick, who was fired months after that title due to (petty) illegal benefits provided to his players.

Seasons: 2
Record: 52-9 (.852)
NCAA tournament record: 5-2
Sweet 16s: 2
Final Fours: 1

Seasons: 2
Record: 50-8 (.892)
NCAA tournament record: 3-2
Sweet 16s: 2
Final Fours: 0

Seasons: 2
Record: 42-17 (.712)
NCAA tournament record: 5-2
Sweet 16s: 1
Final Fours: 1

Seasons: 3
Record: 61-23 (.726)
NCAA tournament record: 0-1
Sweet 16s: 0
Final Fours: 0

Seasons: 4
Record: 77-47 (.621)
NCAA tournament record: 1-1
Sweet 16s: 0
Final Fours: 0

Seasons: 8
Record: 192-62 (.756)
NCAA tournament record: 13-7
Sweet 16s: 3
Final Fours: 1 (won the title)

Seasons: 7
Record: 145-78 (.650)
NCAA tournament record: 11-6
Sweet 16s: 5
Final Fours: 0

Seasons: 10
Record: 208-97 (.682)
NCAA tournament record: 15-7
Sweet 16s: 3
Final Fours: 3

The averages say a UCLA coach in the post-Wooden era will win 74 percent of his games, last 4.75 years on the job and go to the tournament in three of those years. He'll win approximately six NCAA tournament games and make two Sweets 16s -- possibly one of those runs extending to a Final Four. If you remove Howland's long run, the averages take a big hit.

Bottom line: No matter the level of his success, Alford eventually will be let go. One Final Four in a four-year span is not good enough. They will run you out. UCLA doesn't hire for averages or settle for the mean or aim for par. It only hangs national title banners. As Aflord prepares to take on the gig of a lifetime, it'd be best for him and UCLA to realize history shows this arrangement is anything but a long-term prospect.

At this point, UCLA and its fans should realize there are two different levels of expectations at play here. The one's that still exist in the minds of Bruins fans, and the empirical data given above. If Alford can find middle ground between the two between now and whenever he leaves, he'll have made for a terrific hire.

CBS Sports Writer

Matt Norlander is a national award-winning writer who has been with CBS Sports since 2010. He's in his seventh season covering college basketball for CBS, and also covers the NBA Draft, the Olympics and... Full Bio

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