What does a team do when they lose their second-leading scorer right before the NCAA Tournament? This is the problem #6 UCLA (25-9) faces when they play #11 Minnesota (20-12) in the first (second) round of the 2013 NCAA Tournament.
Can Minnesota take advantage of UCLA’s loss, even though the Gophers limped into the NCAA Tournament?
More than 50% of the brackets on ESPN (so far) have UCLA getting upset by Minnesota.
Who do you think will win? We help you fill out your bracket.
The UCLA Bruins had a mentally straining year. They recruited one of the best players in the freshman class (Shabazz Muhammad), but was hampered by an NCAA investigation to start the year. They even lost to Cal Poly, which is unheard of at UCLA.
Muhammad and the Bruins finally got things going and had a good Pac-12 season. They beat Arizona three times and won most of the games when favored. The biggest blow was when they lost freshman Jordan Adams for the season during their conference tournament.
The Minnesota Golden Gophers were ranked high in every preseason poll and started the season looking like a contender. They started the season 16-1 with their only loss was to Duke on a neutral court.
After Minnesota started the Big Ten season 3-0, the season went off the tracks. They went 5-11 in their remaining Big Ten games. To say they are in a downfall is an understatement.
I understand why people are picking Minnesota to upset UCLA…if they have never watched Minnesota play. I predict UCLA will beat Minnesota, even without Adams. The Big Ten was great this season, but sometimes a bad team from a good conference can still make the tournament.
Prediction: #6 UCLA Bruins
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