SAN DIEGO — He's been on the job nearly a full calendar year, leading a young basketball team to a conference tournament championship while filling a dormant program with energy and hope.
Yet Steve Alford's career as UCLA basketball coach doesn't officially begin until right now.
Friday night, Viejas Arena, NCAA tournament, opening game, Tulsa waiting.
Despair waiting, relief waiting, ghosts waiting.
"This is when the UCLA coaching hot seat gets really hot," said Tracy Murray, former Bruins star and current team radio analyst. "This is the game that sets his pants on fire."
Win this game with your higher-seeded team, take another...