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Associated Press
Shaquille O'Neal welcomes UCLA's new men's basketball coach, Steve Alford, at a news conference on Tuesday.

And now, the Steve Alford Era ...

So they introduced Steve Alford at UCLA yesterday, and apparently it did not go well.

If this guy's to be believed, Alford's reception hovered somewhere between tepid and Barack-Obama-drops-in-on-some-wacko-survivalists-in-Idaho.

This has train wreck written all over it, and how even UCLA officials can't see it is beyond me. It smacks of a panic move after UCLA's wish-list guys -- Brad Stevens and Billy Donovan and Rick Pitino, none of whom were remotely get-able -- expressed zero interest.

It also makes me believe even more strongly that Alford should have kept his promise to New Mexico and stayed there. Because UCLA, I'll say it again, is a sideways move at this point -- with a whole pile of disadvantages and not a single advantage I can think of.

Oh, wait. I guess the shopping in L.A. will be better.

Ben Smith's blog.