Fast Facts on NCAA Tourney

UCLA got the news it was waiting for Sunday, when it was announced they were a #11-seed and would face #6-seed Texas Tech on Thursday. Here are some quick facts about UCLA and the NCAA tournament and its matchup with the Red Raiders...

-- UCLA (18-10) was selected as an 11th seed in the NCAA tournament, to face 6th-seed Texas Tech (20-10) Thursday in Tucson. Game time is approximately 6:55.

-- It is UCLA's 39th appearance in the NCAA tournament, and the first in three years.

-- UCLA has an overall record in the NCAA tournament of 85-31. The Bruins, of course, hold the record for the most NCAA championships, with 11, and rank second in victories (85) and winning percentage (.733).

-- UCLA had appeared in 14 straight NCAA tournaments before it ended in 2003. The Bruins, of course, also missed the post-season last year.

-- An 11th seed is the lowest seed UCLA has received in its history.

-- UCLA is 5-0 alltime against Texas Tech. The last time they played each other was in 1988-1989. UCLA is 3-3 against Bobby Knight. The last time it faced the legendary but volatile head coach was in the 1991-1992 season, under then-head coach Jim Harrick. The Bruins beat Indiana soundly in the first game of the season, 87-72, only to then get routed in the last game of the season against Indiana, in the Elite Eight, 106-79.

-- It's the first time that current Head Coach Ben Howland has ever played against Knight or Texas Tech as a head coach.

-- Howland is 4-3 as a head coach in the NCAA tournament. He took Northern Arizona to its first-ever NCAA bid in 1997-1998, in his fourth year with the school. In his third year in Pittsburgh in 2001-2002, he led the Panthers to their first tournament bid in nine years and advanced to the Sweet 16. He took Pittsburgh to the Sweet 16 again in 2002-2003.

-- UCLA, it's believed, fell to a #11 seed after the NCAA committee punished them for losing to Oregon State in the first round of the Pac-10 tournament.

-- No team that received an at-large bid was higher than a #11 seed, so UCLA was probably one of the last several teams the NCAA committee let in the tournament.

-- It's arguable, though, if getting, say, a #8 or #9 seed, is preferable. For example, Stanford received a #8 seed, and they will face #9 seed Mississippi State in the first round. Texas Tech finished with a 30 RPI ranking, while Mississippi State had a 35, which isn't much different. In addition, Stanford, as the #8 seed, if it beats MSU, will face #1-seed Duke in the second round. If UCLA beats Texas Tech, as a #11 seed, it faces #3-seed Gonzaga in the second round.

-- UCLA finished the season with an RPI of 42.

-- UCLA's road to the Final Four is actually a pretty favorable one. If you go by the top-seeded teams in their path, it would be Texas Tech, #3-seed Gonzaga, #2-seeded Wake Forest, and then #1-seeded Washington. Gonzaga is a team that likes to play fast and not much defense, the type of team UCLA usually matches up well against. Wake Forest is probably the weakest #2 seed in the field, and UCLA has already shown it can beat Washington.

-- The Bruins very well could have traveled across the country for its first round game. There were a few bracketologists that projected UCLA to play in Worcester, Mass. Stanford is, in fact, in Charlotte, N.C. But UCLA will play Texas Tech in the familiar McKale Center at the University of Arizona, in Tucson. It's the closest sub-regional to Los Angeles.

-- It's believed that Texas Tech drastically helped itself by playing really well toward the end of the season. It beat then #16 Oklahoma in the semi-final of the Big 12 tournament, 69-63, Saturday. It played tough against #8-ranked Oklahoma State, but lost 72-68 in the conference tournament final. Its win over Oklahoma came just a week after it had lost by 20 points to the Sooners, 74-54.

-- The betting line opened Sunday with Texas Tech favored by 1 point. Since then it has gone up to 3 points.

-- There are 21 teams in the NCAA tournament field of 65 that start freshmen. 17 of them start one freshmen. Three of them start two freshmen -- Kentucky, Florida and Ohio. Only UCLA starts three freshmen.


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