Game Preview: Gophers vs. UCLA

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COMPLETE GAME NOTES/PREVIEW | NCAA TOURNAMENT CENTRAL

By Jeff Fett, GopherSports.com

Friday, March 22, in Austin, Texas the Gophers will begin their quest to make it to their second Final Four in school history in a second round matchup against No. 6 seed UCLA in the South Regional. Here is a preview of what the Bruins have accomplished so far this season.

NCAA Tournament Preview: UCLA

Head Coach: Ben Howland

Overall Record: 25-9

Pac-12 Conference Record: 13-5

Top 5 Leading Scorers: Shabazz Muhammad-17.8 ppg; Jordan Adams-15.3 ppg; Travis Wear-11.2 ppg; Kyle Anderson-9.8 ppg; Larry Drew II-7.6 ppg.

Top 5 Leading Rebounders: Kyle Anderson-8.6 rpg; Shabazz Muhammad-5.3 rpg; Travis Wear-5.2 rpg; David Wear-5.0 rpg; Joshua Smith-4.2 rpg.

Go Gophers! Trev
Go Gophers!
Austin Hollins and the Gophers are making their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2010.
Go Gophers!

Notable wins: Georgia, Texas, Missouri, Long Beach State, California, Arizona, Stanford, Colorado

Notable losses: Georgetown, Cal Poly, San Diego State, Oregon, Washington State

Outlook

The Gophers second round matchup against UCLA is a tough one to predict. UCLA won the regular season Pac-12 title this season, but also went through some rough stretches as well.

The Bruins are led by freshman guard/forward combo Shabazz Muhammad, who leads the team in scoring and is likely to be a top 10 pick in the NBA draft this season should he choose to exit early.

UCLA can get up and down the court, averaging 74.7 points per game, which is 28th in the nation. The team also is averaging 16.1 assists per game, which is 11th in the country. However, the Bruins also give up a lot of points as well. In the Bruins' 34 games, they have given up at least 60 points or more 26 times.

Just before the NCAA tournament, UCLA suffered a big hit. The Bruins will be without freshman guard Jordan Adams after he broke his foot in their Pac-12 Conference tournament semifinal victory over Arizona on Friday. Adams is the team's second scorer and led the Pac-12 in steals with 73 this season. Sophomore Norman Powell will take his place in the starting lineup.

What could work in the Gophers favor is UCLA's depth. With the loss of Adams, the Bruins will likely stick to a seven-man rotation. If the Gophers can make this game into a track meet, there is a good chance they could move on.

 

 

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