UCLA had to crawl and scratch to get through a difficult PAC 12 conference schedule. They are battle-tested and new head coach Steve Alford has them playing really well.
The Tulsa Golden Hurricanes hit ‘restart’ after the new year. They had a hellish non-conference schedule and lost every game against a team from a major conference. They rebounded to win the Conference USA tournament. The conference took a hit when may of the top schools joined the American Athletic Conference.
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UCLA ousted Ben Howland after a disappointing season and pried Steve Alford away from New Mexico. Howland could recruit well, but after Kevin Love and Russell Westbrook left Westwood, that skill diminished. Howland did leave Alford some toys. Kyle Anderson and Jordan Adams are fantastic college basketball players. Neither shoots the ball well from the outside, but they are creative scorers.
Tulsa needed a miracle run just to make it into the NCAA Tournament. They started out the season 1-6 with losses to Wichita State, Creighton and Green Bay. They righted the ship and finished the season with 11 straight wins, including winning the Conference USA conference tournament for an automatic bid.
Out of all the #4 seeds, UCLA may have be given the easiest opponent to face. Tulsa doesn’t have any marquee wins and they don’t even shoot the ball well. UCLA plays at one of the fastest tempos in college basketball. Tulsa won’t be able to hang with UCLA’s speed.
Prediction: #4 UCLA Bruins
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.