UCLA start dancing with UNC Ashville

LOS ANGELES – The UCLA men’s basketball team has secured a No. 2 seed in the 68-team NCAA Tournament field, as announced on Sunday when the complete 68-team bracket was revealed on CBS.

The Bruins (29-5) will take on No. 15-seed UNC Asheville (27-7) in a first-round contest on Thursday, March 16 at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento. The winner of Thursday’s first-round matchup will advance to the second round and could face either No. 7-seed Northwestern or No. 10-seed Boise State.

UCLA guard Tyger Campbell (10) goes for the layup against the Arizona Wildcats in the Pac-12 Conference Championship on March 11, 2023. Photo by Melinda Meijer for News4usonline

The Bruins have been placed in the tournament’s West Region, with the potential to play games in Sacramento (Round of 64 and 32) and in Las Vegas (Sweet 16 and Elite Eight).

UCLA’s game on Thursday will begin at approximately 7:05 p.m. (PT) at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento. The Bruins’ contest will be nationally televised on truTV, and the radio broadcast will be available in the Los Angeles area on AM 570 (KLAC).

The Bruins will return to the NCAA Tournament for the third straight season. Last year, UCLA defeated Akron and Saint Mary’s in the first and second rounds, respectively, before losing to North Carolina in a Sweet 16 matchup in Philadelphia. In 2021, the Bruins advanced from the “First Four” to the Final Four in Indianapolis.

Last week, UCLA defeated Colorado and Oregon in the quarterfinal and semifinal matchups, respectively, of the Pac-12 Tournament. The Bruins dropped a 61-59 decision to Arizona on Saturday night in the Pac-12 Tournament’s title game at T-Mobile Arena.

UCLA forward Jaime Jaquez Jr. (24) goes diving for the basketball against Oregon during the Pac-12 Conference Tournament, played at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photo by Melinda Meijer for News4usonline

Three UCLA players – Amari Bailey, Tyger Campbell and Jaime Jaquez Jr. – were honored as All-Pac-12 Tournament Team selections. Last week, Jaquez Jr. and Campbell were selected as two of the league’s 10 first-team All-Pac-12 honorees.

This will mark the third season in which head coach Mick Cronin has led the Bruins to the NCAA Tournament. Cronin, in his fourth year as The Michael Price Family UCLA Men’s Head Basketball Coach, has now guided his teams to 12 consecutive NCAA Tournaments, including a string of nine straight appearances during his final nine seasons as Cincinnati (2011-19).

Cronin is one of just four active coaches in the nation to have led his teams to the last 12 NCAA Tournaments (includes this season) – he joins Mark Few (Gonzaga), Tom Izzo (Michigan State) and Bill Self (Kansas) in that category.

The Bruins will enter this season’s NCAA Tournament having won 12 of their past 13 contests. UCLA’s 29-5 record marks the program’s largest single-season win total since concluding the 2016-17 season with a 31-5 mark.

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