Going into the weekend, if you were going to put your money down on which UCLA squad was most likely to bring home UCLA's 112th NCAA national championship, the smart bet would have been on the #2-ranked and #3-seeded softball team, especially if you were placing that bet after the Lady Bruins came-from-behind to drop Kentucky in Game 1. The #20-ranked men's golf team? No one would have placed much on them, a team that all of the pundits had in the category of teams just happy to even make the NCAA tournament. No one had any real idea that it would be the Bruins entering into match-play after three rounds and the softball ladies not advancing to the Women's College World Series for the first time in school history.
But, that's where we stand. Our storied softball program, a team expected to return to Oklahoma City for the WCWS and make a serious run at the national championship, is staying home, following an epic choke job this past Sunday, losing Game 2 and Game 3, by a combined score of 14-4, giving Coach Kelly Inouye-Perez a huge blemish on her record - it's not every day that a UCLA coach becomes to first to fail to make a post-season tourney that was made every prior season. In contrast, the underdog golf program, seeking its first title since 2008, has managed to beat the odds and take sixth place and book a place in the match-play bracket, just three head-to-head wins away from Westwood's 112th NCAA national championship trophy.
So, turning to today's action, the Bruins will match-up against LSU in the quarterfinal round, with tee time set for 7 a.m. PST at Prairie Dunes CC in Hutchinson, Kansas. You can track the action live on the live-updated leaderboard here, or you can wait to catch the Golf Channel's coverage, which will begin around noon PST. The Bruins will need to pull out some more inspired golf, but in a match-play format, the Bruins will have a shot to make it. Don't get too happy and bet the farm - the Bruins are still a long-shot to win it all, but as Jim Carrey would say, I'm telling you there's a chance.
It's unlikely we'll see UCLA's 112th national championship through the men's golf team, but let's keep our fingers crossed that they can make a run in match play when it counts the most. This is your NCAA tournament open thread, so fire away with your thoughts, takes, and analysis as our guys keep pushing for another Bruin national title.