Get to Know Bama’s Sweet 16 Dance Partner: No. 11 UCLA
The No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide is set to dance in the Sweet 16 on Sunday for the first time since 2004. This has already been a historic season for the Tide, winning both the SEC regular season and the tournament championship for the first time since 1987. The Crimson Tide will be matched up with No. 11 UCLA for the right to advance to the Elite 8 on Sunday at 6:15 p.m. CT.
The UCLA Bruins are college basketball royalty having won 11 national championships and boasting one of the best coaches in the history of the game in John Wooden. This year's team went 20-9 finishing fifth in the Pac-12 and losing in the conference tournament quarterfinals. According to Kenpom, UCLA played the 26th hardest schedule this year and the third toughest of any team left playing in the tournament.
Mick Cronin, like Nate Oats, is in his second year at the helm of the UCLA program, he relies on All Pac-12 First Team member, sophomore guard, Tyger Campbell to get his offense going. Campbell averages 10 points, 5.4 assists and a steal per game.
The Bruins had two players earn All Pac-12 Second Team honors this season. Sophomores Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Johnny Juzang. Jaquez Jr. is scoring 12.2 points and six rebounds per game while Juzang averages 15 points and four rebounds this season.
UCLA has been inconsistent in 2020-21 opening up its Pac-12 season with seven straight wins but ending the year on a four-game losing streak prior to opening the tournament.
UCLA earned its was into the Sweet 16 by winning its "First Four" matchup with No. 11 Michigan State 86-80, the Bruins beat No. 6 BYU 73-62 and took down No. 14 Abilene Christian 67-47.
Alabama has only squared off with UCLA five times on the hardwood winning two and dropping three. The Tide won its most recent matchup with the Bruins, defeating UCLA in 2014 in Coleman Coliseum 56-50 but unfortunately Alabama lost in the Round of 32 in 2006, the only time the two programs have met in the NCAA Tournament.
Alabama takes on UCLA at 6:15 p.m. CT on Sunday, March 28 at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. The Crimson Tide currently stands as a six point favorite in the game. Alabama is aiming for its second Elite 8 appearance in program history while UCLA is seeking its 23rd trip to the quarterfinals. The game will be televised on TBS and can be heard locally on the radio on 95.3 The Bear.
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