UCLA Prepares to Face Alabama in Sweet 16 on Sunday
INDIANAPOLIS – No. 11-seed UCLA (20-9) will take on No. 2-seed Alabama (26-6) in the NCAA Tournament's Sweet 16 on Sunday evening. The Bruins' game at Hinkle Fieldhouse will begin at 4:15 p.m. PT (7:15 p.m. ET in Indiana). The game will be nationally televised on TBS. This will mark UCLA's first meeting on the hardwood against Alabama since the Bruins traveled to Tuscaloosa, Ala., in December 2014.
Venue: Hinkle Fieldhouse (Indianapolis, Ind.)
Game Time: 4:15 p.m. PT (7:15 p.m. ET)
TV Talent: Ian Eagle (play-by-play), Jim Spanarkel (analyst), Jamie Erdahl (sideline)
Radio (UCLA Sports Network): AM 1150
Radio Talent: Josh Lewin (play-by-play), Tracy Murray (analyst)
SIRIUS and XM Radio Channels: Ch. 138 / Ch. 210
SIRIUSXM Internet Channel: Ch. 968
THURSDAY'S MEDIA AVAILABILITY
Bruins' head coach Mick Cronin and sophomore Jaime Jaquez spoke to members of the media, via Zoom, from Lucas Oil Stadium on Thursday, March 25. The complete videos of that Zoom media session can be viewed on YouTube or by clicking on the links in parenthesis (Cronin | Jaquez Jr.).
ABOUT THE BRUINS
- UCLA looks to secure its first trip to the NCAA Tournament's Elite Eight since advancing in 2008.
- The Bruins are in the Sweet 16 for the fourth time since 2014 (recent trips in 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2021).
- Since the tournament format expanded to 32 teams in 1975, UCLA has made 21 trips to the Sweet 16.
- This marks the first NCAA Tournament for all of UCLA's players except for senior guard Chris Smith (who is injured).
- Dating back to last season, UCLA has won 20 of its past 27 Pac-12 contests (and 31 of 43 overall games).
- Not including Chris Smith (injured), UCLA has five active players who have averaged at least 10.0 points per game.
- UCLA ranks No. 1 in the Pac-12 in fewest turnovers per game (10.9) and was No. 3 in fewest fouls per game (16.0).
- UCLA lost to BYU and Michigan State in the 2019 Maui Jim Maui Invitational, but defeated both teams in the past week.
- The Bruins have committed fewer fouls than their opponent in 22 of 29 games this season.
SEEKING THE ELITE EIGHT
Since the tournament expanded to 32 teams in 1975, UCLA has made nine trips to the NCAA Tournament's Elite Eight (also known as the regional finals). Most recently, the Bruins advanced to three consecutive Elite Eights (and three consecutive Final Fours) from 2006-08. UCLA has not moved on to the Elite Eight (or Final Four) since the 2007-08 season. Through those nine trips to the Elite Eight (since 1975), UCLA has gone 7-2. UCLA head coach Mick Cronin (second year with the Bruins) has never advanced past the Sweet 16 during his 18-year head coaching career (12 NCAA Tournament trips).
AGAINST THE FIELD
UCLA faced three of the 16 squads that have advanced to the NCAA Tournament's regional semifinals (USC, Oregon State and Oregon). The Pac-12 Conference has gone 9-1 through the first two rounds of the 68-team tournament. UCLA has logged consecutive wins against Michigan State, BYU and Abilene Christian.
- Tyger Campbell (first team), Jaime Jaquez Jr. (second team) and Johnny Juzang (second team) earned All-Pac-12 honors.
- Tyger Campbell (10.1 ppg, 5.4 apg) ranks No. 2 in the Pac-12 in assists per game and No. 4 in assist-turnover ratio (2.9).
- Jaime Jaquez Jr. (34.3) and Tyger Campbell (33.7) have ranked No. 4 and 7, respectively, in the Pac-12 in minutes/game.
- Johnny Juzang leads all Pac-12 players in free throw percentage (90.7%, 49 of 54), headed into Sunday's game.
- David Singleton ranks No. 2 in the Pac-12 in 3-point percentage (45.6%, 36-for-79), through Thursday, March 25.
- Cody Riley ranks No. 8 in the Pac-12 in overall field goal percentage (54.9%, 106-193), through Thursday, March 25.
- Jaime Jaquez Jr. ranks No. 10 in the Pac-12 in rebounds per game (6.1 rpg), through Thursday, March 25.
Through 50 total NCAA Tournament appearances, the Bruins have compiled a record of 109-42 with a nation-leading 11 NCAA Championships. The Bruins won 10 of those 11 NCAA titles from 1964 through 1975, including a streak of seven consecutive national championships from 1967 through 1973 (under the late Coach John Wooden). UCLA most recently advanced to the NCAA Tournament (First Four) in 2018. The Bruins have not reached the Final Four since three consecutive trips in 2006, 2007 and 2008 under former head coach Ben Howland. Head coach Mick Cronin, in his second season at UCLA, has now led Murray State, Cincinnati and UCLA to NCAA Tournaments in 18 seasons as a collegiate head coach.
Mick Cronin is one of just five coaches to have led his teams to the past 10 NCAA Tournaments. That includes nine consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances as the head coach at Cincinnati (2011-19). Joining Cronin on that list are Mark Few (Gonzaga), Tom Izzo (Michigan State), Bill Self (Kansas) and Roy Williams (North Carolina).
SINCE 1985, SWEET 16
UCLA has advanced to the NCAA Tournament's Sweet 16 (regional semifinals) for the 15th time since the tournament field expanded to at least 64 teams, starting in 1985. Previous Sweet 16 trips since 1985 have occurred in 1990, 1992, 1995, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2014, 2015 and 2017. Through those previous 14 appearances, the Bruins have gone 6-8 at the Sweet 16, with four trips to the Final Four (1995, 2006, 2007 and 2008). In the four most recent trips to the Final Four, UCLA has compiled a 3-3 record (including the 1995 NCAA title). Overall, UCLA has advanced to 50 NCAA Tournaments and 18 NCAA Final Fours and won a nation-leading 11 NCAA Championships.
Johnny Juzang has averaged 22.3 points and 4.0 rebounds in three NCAA Tournament wins. He totaled a team-best 27 points in a 73-62 win over BYU (March 20). He became the third UCLA player to have scored at least 20 points in each of his first two NCAA Tournament contests (joining Lew Alcindor and Reggie Miller in that category). Juzang shot 52.6% from the field and 39.1% from 3-point territory (9-for-23) in the NCAA Tournament. Only Lew Alcindor (86 points) and Kevin Love (68 points) scored more points through their first three NCAA Tournament games than Juzang (67 points), while at UCLA.
UCLA VERSUS ALABAMA
UCLA has compiled a 3-2 all-time record against Alabama. The two schools last faced each other in a non-conference home-and-home series during the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons. The Bruins won, 75-67, in the showdown in Pauley Pavilion (Dec. 28, 2013). The next season, UCLA dropped a 56-50 decision in Tuscaloosa (Dec. 28, 2014). Prior to those two games, UCLA had not faced Alabama since the 2006 NCAA Tournament (Round of 32). The Bruins won that NCAA Tournament matchup, 62-59, in the No. 2-seed vs. 10-seed matchup at Viejas Arena in San Diego.
Tyger Campbell, a sophomore from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, has averaged 10.1 points and 5.4 assists per game (29 contests). This marks the first season since 2015-16 in which UCLA has returned its starting point guard from the previous year (2014-15 and 2015-16, Bryce Alford). From 2011-12 through 2020-21, UCLA has utilized nine different primary (or starting) point guards. Prior to Campbell, Jaylen Hands served as the Bruins' primary ball handler in 2018-19. Campbell has been UCLA's first point guard to start each game during his freshman year since Lonzo Ball in 2016-17. Campbell has scored in double figures in 12 of the Bruins' games and has registered at least 10 assists in two contests.
FEWEST TURNOVERS SINCE
UCLA commited just four turnovers in the 73-62 win against BYU on March 20 at Butler's Hinkle Fieldhouse. That marked the fewest turnovers by a UCLA team since March 19, 2017, when UCLA had 21 assists and three turnovers in a 79-67 win over Cincinnati (second round, NCAA Tournament). UCLA turned the ball over six times in the first 16 minutes versus Michigan State, and then went the final 29 minutes of that game with just two turnovers. In the next game (vs. BYU), UCLA had four turnovers in 40 minutes, meaning the Bruins had just six turnovers in a 69-minute span. Since December of 1974, UCLA has had just 10 games (out of nearly 1,500) in which the Bruins have committed four or fewer turnovers.
UCLA's 18-game home winning streak ended in the regular-season finale (lost to USC, 64-63). USC's Tahj Eaddy hit a 3-pointer from the corner with 1.4 seconds left on the clock. The Bruins had won 18 consecutive home games prior to that contest. That 18-game streak began with a 50-40 win against California on Jan. 19, 2020. The Bruins' 18-game home winning streak marked the program's best such streak (at home) since logging 25 consecutive home victories from Feb. 2006 through Nov. 2007. Most recently, UCLA had a perfect home record in 2006-07, going 16-0 in Pauley Pavilion.
Sophomore Johnny Juzang scored a career-high 32 points in a 64-61 win at Washington (Feb. 13, 2021). He became UCLA's first player with at least 30 points in a game since Chris Smith (against Colorado, Jan. 30, 2020, in Pauley Pavilion). Juzang's 32-point effort at Washington marked the most points in a game by any UCLA player since Kris Wilkes had 34 points during his sophomore season in a home win over Arizona (Jan. 26, 2019). Aaron Holiday is UCLA's most recent player to have scored 30 points (or more) in multiple games in one season (2017-18, with four games of 30+ points).