Let's go Bruins!
Armed with an 11-seed and a Looney getting used to the face-mask, I thought it would be 50-50 they could sneak past SMU. And indeed, it came down to the final minute and a controversial call to put UCLA over the top.
UCLA was expected to beat UAB and indeed, UCLA pounded it inside and UAB never got closer than six after UCLA established the lead.
Now, it is a rematch against Gonzaga.
Gonzaga easily won the first time they met this year in the non-conference part of the season. They will undoubtedly be favored again. They have a strong inside-outside game and stopping both will be difficult. Coach Alford may have to pick his poison and either collapse in on Gonzaga's bigs and hope the outside shooting is off. On the other hand, they can go out on the shooters but risk getting torn up inside. UCLA essentially made UAB pay for guarding the outside shooters leaving Parker to rampage inside. UCLA could be on the opposite side of the same deal.
UCLA's bench is Welch, Goloman and Allen. Welch and Goloman might be key to rotating with Parker and Looney in covering Gonzaga's front line. Powell, Alford, Hamilton and Allen will have their hands full chasing Gonzaga's shooters. All eight UCLA players will have to be at their best to even have a shot at taking Gonzaga to the final minutes where anything could happen.
Will it be high drama as it was back in 2006?