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NCAA Basketball Tournament Central

Follow the Pac-12 during March Madness

A look at UCLA's history with North Carolina ahead of Sweet Sixteen showdown

Mar 22, 2022

Reggie Miller. Jerry Stackhouse. Bill Walton. Vince Carter. Gail Goodrich. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Michael Jordan.

The basketball royalty to come out of North Carolina and UCLA is staggering.

With 17 NCAA titles and 39 Final Four appearances between them, the programs are two of the all-time college basketball powerhouses. 

And luckily for hoops fans, the blue bloods will face off in the Sweet Sixteen in one of the most anticipated matchups of the NCAA Tournament thus far.

UNC has had the upper hand in head-to-head contests, holding a 10-3 record. However, UCLA, which owns a nation-best 11 NCAA titles, won the most high-profile matchup, defeating UNC 78-55 in the 1968 NCAA title game to secure the second national championship of the John Wooden era. 

The teams have only met one other time at the NCAA Tournament, with No. 2-seeded UNC defeating No. 7-seeded UCLA in 1989. UCLA legend, and current Pac-12 Network basketball analyst, Don MacLean scored 16 points in that game.

A number of current Bruins were on the roster for UCLA and UNC’s most recent clash, a 74-64 Tar Heels victory in 2019. UCLA stars Tyger Campbell, Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Jules Bernard all scored in double-figures.

These iterations of 4-seed UCLA and 8-seed UNC are both battle tested, with a UCLA team that returned all of its starters from last year’s run to the Final Four and a Tar Heels squad that already vanquished defending champion Baylor in the second round.

If UCLA hopes to reverse its luck against UNC, the Bruins will need to contain Armando Bacot, the Tar Heels' leading scorer who is averaging a double-double (16.4 points, 12.5 rebounds) this season. Beyond Bacot, UNC has multiple players who can take over a game with Brady Manek and RJ Davis scoring 28 and 30 points, respectively, in the Tar Heels' first two tournament games. 

On the other hand, Bruins are coming off one of their most impressive wins of the season, a 72-56 dismantling of 5-seed Saint Mary’s, who had been a trendy pick to make a deep tournament run. As they often have this season, the Bruins used a balanced attack — four of UCLA’s five starters scored between 14-16 points — to pick apart the Gaels' defense. 

UCLA and UNC will tip off at approximately 6:39 p.m. PT/ 9:39 p.m. ET on Friday, March 25 in Philadelphia on CBS. The winner will advance to face either 15-seed Saint Peter’s or 3-seed Purdue in the Elite Eight on Sunday.