The No. 11 seed UCLA Bruins (21-13) meet the No. 14 UAB Blazers (20-15) in the third round (play-in games called the first round or first four - this is the round of 32) of the NCAA Tournament South Regional at the KFC Yum! in Louisville, Kentucky. Tip-off is set for 9:10 AM PT. You can catch the game on CBS (NCAA.com & their app are streaming it). Verne Lundquist (play-by-play), Jim Spanarkel (analyst), Allie LaForce (reporter) will call it. You can also listen on Tunein Radio or 570 AM. Follow along with CBS Gametracker.
Vegas has UCLA as the 6 point favorite.
UCLA beat SMU, 60-59, and UAB beat Iowa State, 60-59, in their opening Tournament games.
UCLA beat UAB down in the Battle 4 Atlantis early season tournament in the Bahamas, 88-76. The score was 49-33 at the half. Isaac Hamilton led all scorers with 21 points and shut down UAB's leading scorer Robert Brown limiting him to 2 points. However, 6'9" power forward William Lee did not play that game, and he's become a big reason for the Blazers' resurgence after they bottomed out in a blow-out loss to North Carolina. On the emotional side, the school had recently announced the shutting of the football program, and basketball success took on a greater meaning.
Their coach, Jerod Haase, retooled the shot selection and defense. The Blazers are not good perimeter shooters, but their perimeter defense is good. The Bruins have become reliant on Bryce Alford and Norman Powell to carry the day without so much executing an inside-out game -- especially since the focal point of that style, Tony Parker, has once again disappeared in the last two games. UAB is a threat if the UCLA bigs under-perform, and Powell/Alford are contained.
That said, I believe this will be a comfortable win for the Bruins.
Enjoy the game thread with your fellow BNers and Bruins.