UCLA Prepares for Friday's Game Against North Carolina
LOS ANGELES – The No. 4-seed Bruins will face No. 8-seed North Carolina in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament this Friday evening in Philadelphia. UCLA advanced to the Sweet 16, or regional semifinal, after recording victories over No. 13-seed Akron and No. 5-seed Saint Mary's in Portland last week (Thursday and Saturday). The Bruins have won seven of their last eight games, heading into Friday's contest in Philadelphia.
FRIDAY'S GAME INFORMATION
Venue: Wells Fargo Center (Philadelphia, Pa.)
Game Time: approximately 6:40 p.m. PT (9:40 p.m. ET)
CBS Broadcasters: Ian Eagle (play-by-play), Jim Spanarkel (analyst), Jamie Erdahl (sideline)
UCLA's Radio Broadcast (UCLA Sports Network): AM 1150
UCLA's Radio Talent: Josh Lewin (play-by-play), Tracy Murray (analyst)
Westwood One Radio: Tom McCarthy (play-by-play), Will Perdue (analyst)
SIRIUS/XM Channels: Ch. 135 / Ch. 202
SIRIUS Internet Channel: Ch. 965
UCLA's TUESDAY MEDIA AVAILABILITY (videos): Coach Cronin | J. Bernard
Bruins' head coach Mick Cronin and senior guard Jules Bernard met with reporters outside of the Mo Ostin Basketball Center on Tuesday afternoon, minutes before the team headed to Los Angeles International Airport for a mid-day flight to Philadelphia.
WESTWOOD, UCLA'S DOCUSERIES
The Bruins' season-long docuseries – titled "Westwood" – airs on the UCLA Athletics YouTube channel and the UCLA men's basketball program's social media platforms (Twitter, Instagram and Facebook). Episodes run just under 10 minutes in length and are broadcast on social media approximately every two weeks.
Episode 1 (aired Monday, Nov. 8) – watch
Episode 2 (aired Monday, Nov. 22) – watch
Episode 3 (aired Monday, Dec. 6) – watch
Episode 4 (aired Monday, Dec. 20) – watch
Episode 5 (aired Monday, Jan. 10) – watch
Episode 6 (aired Monday, Jan. 24) – watch
Episode 7 (aired Monday, Feb. 7) – watch
Episode 8 (aired Monday, Feb. 21) – watch
Episode 9 (aired Monday, March 7) – watch
Episode 10 (aired Wednesday, March 23) – watch
ABOUT THE BRUINS
- UCLA's 27 wins this season are the most by a Bruins' team since finishing 31-5 in 2016-17.
- UCLA has advanced to the Sweet 16 in five of nine seasons (2014, 2015, 2017, 2021 and 2022).
- This will mark the Bruins' 22nd trip to the Sweet 16 since the tournament field expanded to 32 teams in 1975.
- The Bruins are seeking their second consecutive trip to the Elite Eight with a win against North Carolina on Friday.
- UCLA has limited the opposition to 64.2 points per game this season, which ranks No. 1 in the Pac-12.
- The Bruins finished second in the Pac-12 standings for the second time in the past three seasons (also, 2019-20).
- UCLA finished as the runner-up to top-seed Arizona at the Pac-12 Tournament at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
- UCLA has advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the 51st time in program history (second consecutive year).
- The Bruins will enter Friday's contest having won seven of their last eight games (and 10 of their last 12).
- The Bruins had two six-game winning streaks during the season and lost in back-to-back games just once.
- UCLA entered the week ranking No. 2, nationally, in fewest turnovers per game (9.0, trailing Wisconsin's 8.7).
- Eleven of UCLA's 15 players were either born-and-raised in Southern California or attended high school in the area.
NCAA TOURNAMENT NOTES
- UCLA returns to the NCAA Tournament's Sweet 16 after having gone 5-1 in last year's 68-team field.
- The Bruins advanced from the First Four to the Final Four one year ago, losing in the national semifinals to Gonzaga.
- UCLA has made 51 total trips to the NCAA Tournament and has won a nation-leading 11 NCAA championships.
- Since the tournament expanded to 32 teams in 1975, UCLA has made 11 trips to the Elite Eight (regional finals).
- The Bruins have made 19 appearances in the Final Four (compiling a 13-6 record in the national semifinals).
- Prior to last season's appearance in the Final Four, UCLA had not advanced to the Final Four since 2008.
- Entering last year's NCAA Tournament, none of UCLA's active players had ever competed in the NCAA Tournament.
- Head coach Mick Cronin has guided his teams to 13 NCAA Tournament appearances in 19 years as a head coach.
HEADED TO THE EAST COAST
- The Bruins last played in Philadelphia in the first and second rounds of the 2009 NCAA Tournament.
- UCLA's 2009 NCAA Tournament games included a win over VCU (first round) and a loss to Villanova in Philadelphia.
- UCLA has not played an NCAA Tournament game in the Northeast since those two games in Philadelphia in 2009.
- The Bruins' most recent game in the Northeast took place in Brooklyn (Dec. 19, 2015) against North Carolina.
- UCLA has played eight NCAA Tournament games in Pennsylvania – six games in Philadelphia, two games in Pittsburgh.
WELCOME TO THE SWEET 16
The Bruins have advanced to the NCAA Tournament's Sweet 16 in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2014 and 2015. Last season, the Bruins defeated No. 2-seed Alabama in a Sweet 16 matchup in the "bubble" in Indianapolis, 88-78, in overtime. That victory propelled UCLA into an Elite Eight showdown against No. 1-seed Michigan (UCLA won, 51-49). This Friday's game will mark UCLA's 22nd trip to the Sweet 16 since the tournament expanded to 32 teams in 1975. The Bruins have gone 8-3 in their past 11 trips to the Elite Eight (since the tournament began including 32 teams in 1975).
LOOKING BACK AT LAST WEEK
UCLA punched its ticket to this season's Sweet 16 with wins against No. 13-seed Akron (57-53) last Thursday and versus No. 5-seed Saint Mary's (72-56) last Saturday. Tyger Campbell averaged 16.0 points and 4.5 assists in the two games, and Jaime Jaquez Jr. averaged 15.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists. The Bruins improved to 45-4 in the NCAA Tournament in games played in the states of California (27-1), Oregon (13-3) and Washington (5-0). In addition, the Bruins improved their NCAA Tournament record over the past two seasons (2021, 2022) to 7-1.
THE LAST TIME: The Bruins made 4 of 9 attempts from 3-point range in the win over Saint Mary's (44.4%). That marked the fewest 3-pointers attempted in an NCAA Tournament game by UCLA since going 5-for-9 from long-range on March 19, 2015, in a second round win over UAB (W, 92-75). The Bruins have attempted nine or fewer 3-point shots in 11 total NCAA Tournament games (the NCAA instituted the 3-point arc beginning with the 1986-87 season).
While the Bruins have totaled 19 trips to the NCAA Final Four, UCLA has made eight trips to the Final Four (the national semifinals) since the tournament expanded to 32 teams in 1975. Last season, UCLA became the first Pac-12 Conference program to advance to the Final Four since Oregon in 2017. Through UCLA's last 11 trips to the Elite Eight (including last season's victory against Michigan), the Bruins have compiled an 8-3 record. Under then-head coach Ben Howland, the Bruins advanced to three consecutive Finals Fours in 2006, 2007 and 2008 (and the national title contest in 2006).
UCLA VS. UNC, POSTSEASON
UCLA has faced North Carolina in the 1968 and 1989 NCAA Tournaments. In the most recent tournament matchup (1989), No. 2-seed North Carolina took down No. 7-seed UCLA, 88-81, in Atlanta. The first-ever meeting between UCLA and UNC took place in the 1968 NCAA Championship contest at the Los Angeles Sports Arena (March 23, 1968). Lew Alcindor (now known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) scored 34 points and totaled 16 rebounds in UCLA's 78-55 championship victory.
THE ALL-TIME SERIES: North Carolina has gone 10-3 in the all-time series against UCLA. In the two schools' most recent meeting, UCLA lost to North Carolina, 74-64, in the CBS Sports Classic on Dec. 21, 2019, at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The Bruins had been scheduled to face UNC in the CBS Sports Classic this season (on Saturday, Dec. 18 in Las Vegas), but the game was canceled due to COVID-19 protocols within UCLA's program.
WITHIN THE PAC-12
The Pac-12 Conference had three teams advance to the NCAA Tournament this season (No. 1-seed Arizona, No. 4-seed UCLA and No. 7-seed USC). Over the first weekend of play, the Pac-12 logged a 4-1 combined record, with both UCLA and Arizona advancing to the Sweet 16. The conference seeks its 17th all-time championship for a league member and has not seen any of its teams since the title since Arizona in 1997. UCLA has won 11 of those previous 16 national championships. Last season, the Pac-12 registered a 13-5 record in the NCAA Tournament, as UCLA tallied five of those wins.
THE 20-WIN PLATEAU
UCLA has won at least 20 games for the second consecutive season, logging its 27th win last Saturday in the second round of the NCAA Tournament against Saint Mary's. UCLA has won at least 20 games in 53 seasons, including 45 times in the last 56 years (1967-2022). UCLA won at least 20 games in 17 straight seasons from 1966-67 through 1982-83. The Bruins compiled a 205-5 overall record through a seven-year stretch from 1966-67 through 1972-73. Over the past 10 seasons (since 2012-13), UCLA has won at least 20 games in six seasons and 25 games or more in three seasons.
Bruins' guard Johnny Juzang has averaged a team-best 15.7 points per game. He ranks No. 3 in the Pac-12 in scoring, through Sunday, March 20. He has scored in double figures in 24 of 29 games played. Juzang has shot 43.4 percent from the field, 35.5 percent from 3-point range and 83.1 percent at the free throw line. He secured first-team All-Pac-12 honors at the conclusion of the regular season. Juzang is among 15 players who were named to this season's national ballot for the John R. Wooden Award (presented to the nation's top player by the Los Angeles Athletic Club).
EYE OF THE TYGER
Tyger Campbell has secured first-team All-Pac-12 honors for the second straight season. He is UCLA's first player to earn first-team all-league acclaim in back-to-back years since Arron Afflalo (2006, 2007). Through games played on Sunday, March 20, Campbell ranked No. 6 in the nation in assist-turnover ratio (3.3) and No. 4 in the Pac-12 in assists per game (4.2). He is UCLA's first player since Darren Collison (2006-09) to serve as the primary point guard for at least three straight seasons. From 2011-12 through 2018-19, UCLA used seven different players as the team's starting point guard.
THE PRIDE OF CAMARILLO
UCLA's Jaime Jaquez Jr. hails from Camarillo, Calif., approximately 40 miles northwest of Los Angeles (city of Camarillo is pronounced kam-er-EE-oh). He has played in 96 of UCLA's 97 games since the start of the 2019-20 season. A first-team All-Pac-12 selection, Jaquez Jr. has averaged 14.0 points and 5.7 rebounds in 33 games. Over the past five contests, he has averaged 18.0 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.0 assists. As of late, he tallied a career-high 30 points at Washington (Feb. 28) and followed that with a 27-point effort against USC (March 5). Jaquez Jr. has shot 48.4 percent (30-for-62) from the field in UCLA's last five games.
COACH CRONIN'S 20-WIN CAMPAIGNS
Now in his 19th season as a college basketball head coach, Mick Cronin has led his teams to at least 20 victories in 11 of the past 12 seasons (the 19-win season at UCLA in 2019-20 was abruptly abbreviated with the outbreak of COVID-19). Since compiling a 26-9 record at Cincinnati in 2010-11, Coach Cronin's teams have averaged 25.2 victories over the past 12 seasons (that includes 2010-11 through this season). He helped guide Cincinnati to 30 wins in 2016-17 and 31 wins in 2017-18. Coach Cronin's teams have posted a combined 126-39 conference-only record during his last nine seasons.
POSTSEASON BREAKDOWN: Coach Cronin led his Murray State teams to two NCAA Tournament berths in three seasons (2004, 2006). As the head coach at his alma mater (Cincinnati) for 13 years, he guided the Bearcats to nine NCAA Tournaments (all consecutive, from 2011 through 2019). This marks his second NCAA Tournament berth at UCLA.
Under third-year head coach Mick Cronin, the Bruins have gone 22-11 in games decided by five points or fewer (includes all overtime games, regardless of score margin). This season, the Bruins have posted a 3-4 record in such situations. In 2019-20, the Bruins went 7-3 in those contests. In 2020-21, UCLA had a 12-4 record. Through Coach Cronin's final three seasons at Cincinnati (2016-17 through 2018-19), his teams went 18-7 in those situations. From 2016-17 through the 2020-21 season, Coach Cronin's teams went 37-14 in such contests.
70 POINTS OR FEWER
Over the past two seasons (2020-21 and 2021-22), UCLA has gone 39-4 when limiting the opposition to 70 or fewer points (19-3 last season, 20-1 this year). Coach Cronin has led the Bruins to a 57-5 record when limiting the opposition to 70 or fewer points. In 2019-20, UCLA went 18-1 in such situations. Through his final three seasons as Cincinnati's head coach (2016-17 through 2018-19), his teams posted a 79-10 record (opposition, 70 or fewer points). Since the start of the 2016-17 season, his teams have gone 133-15 when limiting the opponent to 70 or fewer points (through 199 games).
65 POINTS, OR FEWER: Through three seasons as UCLA's head coach (2019-20 through 2021-22), Coach Cronin has guided the Bruins to a 49-2 record when UCLA has held its opposition to 65 points or fewer. UCLA has gone 19-0 this season (allowing 65 or fewer points), went 15-1 last season, and went 16-1 in 2019-20.
FEWEST POINTS ALLOWED: Since the start of the 2019-20 season, UCLA has limited the opposition a single-game low of 40 points, back on Jan. 19, 2020. The Bruins outlasted California, 50-40, in a Pac-12 contest in Pauley Pavilion. More recently, UCLA limited Stanford to just 43 points in the Bruins' 66-43 win over the Cardinal on Jan. 29, 2022.
FORCING TURNOVERS: Midway through his third year at UCLA, Coach Cronin has guided the Bruins to a 25-4 record when UCLA has forced at least 15 turnovers by the opposition (includes a 10-2 mark in that category this season).
ONE THOUSAND POINTS
Jules Bernard (1,179 points) and Jaime Jaquez Jr. (1,133 points) have both crossed the 1,000 career-point plateau this season. Bernard, who has played in 129 career games, reached the 1,000-point milestone in a triple-overtime loss at Arizona State on Saturday, Feb. 5. Jaquez Jr. crossed the 1,000-point threshold in the Bruins' 77-66 win at Washington on Monday, Feb. 28. He finished that game with a career-high 30 points. UCLA has three players – Johnny Juzang (969), Tyger Campbell (967) and Cody Riley (934) – who have each scored at least 900 points in their collegiate careers.
THE BRUINS WHEN ...
Since the start of the 2017-18 season, the Bruins have gone 79-15 when leading at halftime (through 163 games). During that span, the UCLA has gone 24-40 when trailing at halftime (3-2 when tied at the break). UCLA's largest halftime deficit overcome in that stretch has been 16 points – UCLA trailed at home against Oregon, 44-28, on Feb. 23, 2019, and outscored the Ducks in the second half (62-39) to win, 90-83. When the Bruins have built a 10-point lead (or larger) at any point in the game, UCLA has gone 83-11. When trailing by 10 or more points in a game, UCLA has gone 17-41.
UNDER COACH CRONIN: Since the start of the 2019-20 season, UCLA has gone 49-8 when leading at halftime and 16-19 when trailing at the break (2-2 record, tied at halftime). The Bruins have gone 49-5 when building a lead of 10 points or more. UCLA has gone 8-20 when trailing by at least 10 points at any point in the game.
UCLA has made at least one 3-pointer played in its last 749 games. That 3-point streak began after the Bruins went 0-for-14 from 3-point territory in a 78-63 loss at No. 2-ranked Stanford on Feb. 3, 2000 (Maples Pavilion). UCLA has made at least three 3-pointers in 296 of 304 games since the start of the 2013-14 season. The Bruins made a school single-game-record 19 three-pointers (on 31 attempts) at Colorado on Jan. 12, 2017. UCLA won that road game, 104-89.
3-POINTERS, THIS SEASON? ... The Bruins made a season-high 14 shots (on 34 attempts) from 3-point distance in a 96-78 win over Long Beach State on Thursday, Jan. 6. UCLA also made 13 shots from 3-point range (on 20 attempts, 65.0%) in a 94-55 victory against Oregon State at Gill Coliseum (Corvallis, Ore.) on Saturday, Feb. 26.