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Steve Alford needs a friend.

He's not likely to find many in Westwood right now.

UCLA (8-7, 0-2) is on a five-game losing streak, just scored the fewest points in a game since 1967, and looked generally lost in a 71-39 pummeling at the hands of the Runnin' Utes.

Fan blog Bruins Nation had a post this week titled with the open-ended question "Did Alford Lose The Team?"

Halfway through Alford's second season, there's some serious heat.

It probably wasn't what UCLA had in mind when it brought in the man who was once an Indiana star point guard and found coaching success at Iowa and New Mexico. Alford, 50, has won more games as a coach (491) than most ever will, and he appears to have a lot of career left.

One wonders, though, how long he'll be coaching the Bruins.

To be realistic, Alford still has plenty of leeway after bringing UCLA into the Sweet 16 last season. He lost three first-round NBA Draft picks from that squad, so anyone would be rebuilding after that kind of defection.

That's why you bring in a top-10 signing class, headlined by a five-star recruit in Kevin Looney. Alford also brought back a versatile scorer in Norman Powell, and a one-time McDonald's All-American in Isaac Hamilton. His son, Bryce Alford, wasn't a highly touted recruit, but at least he knows what dad wants, right?

What Alford didn't want, well that happened Sunday.

UCLA looked listless for long stretches, particularly on the offensive end, where nothing went in. The Bruins shot 15 for 52, made only one 3-pointer, and were essentially run over in the paint, especially for the first 30 minutes. The leading scorer was forward Tony Parker, who fouled out with lots of time left.

Chants of "Daddy's Boy" are probably nothing new for the Alfords, but it probably stings more when Bryce is in the middle of a 0-for-10 night.

Everyone hits a rough patch, and maybe Alford deserves some understanding. Here's the problem: His predecessor, Ben Howland won nearly 69 percent of his games, had a run of three straight Final Fours from 2006 to 2008, and finished in the league's top two spots six times in his 10-year run. UCLA won the Pac-12 the year he was fired.

This is Wooden Country, even if that's an unfair standard. UCLA has a history of demanding more from its program, even if Bruins fans don't exactly pack the house any longer. Athletic director Dan Guerrero said at the time of Howland's firing he had expected a run in the NCAA Tournament, and Howland didn't deliver.

Alford has given UCLA an uptempo brand of basketball, but playing uptempo isn't exciting unless winning comes with it. Attendance is still lagging, and the empty seats on national television at UCLA show it. And with a rugged start, Alford is learning another lesson: The world takes notice when UCLA is down. ESPN, Sports Illustrated and Yahoo have thinkpieces this week on the Bruins' headaches.

The seat under Alford isn't in flames, but its certainly uncomfortable. And unless UCLA picks up some steam playing at home this week, it could be a bumpy ride the rest of the way.

Twitter: @kylegoon