Despite Having Three Former Tar Heels, UCLA Bruins Not Worse Than North Carolina
The 2009-2010 season was one of the worst seasons for the North Carolina Tar Heels. After the season was over, two of their players–Travis Wear and David Wear–transferred out of UNC. In the middle of the 2010-2011 season, North Carolina had another player to transfer away after he was benched. This player was Larry Drew II. The Wear twins and Drew II played together at North Carolina during the 2009-2010 season. All three of them transferred to the same school, UCLA.
Over the past few years, people have joked about these incidents. As a result, some people refer to UCLA as “UNC-Lite Academy.” Over 10 years ago, Brian Morrison, left North Carolina to attend UCLA as well. It was not a coincidence that UCLA and North Carolina are located in the South region for the 2013 NCAA Tournament. As many people know, the NCAA Tournament Committee creates story lines and plots with their match-ups. For instance, North Carolina could possibly face the Kansas Jayhawks in the round of 32. Current North Carolina head coach, Roy Williams, coached at Kansas from 1988 to 2003.
Although UCLA has more national championships, North Carolina has a better reputation and image in college basketball today. However, when you compare their wins and losses for this current season, you may reconsider making up jokes about what UCLA stands for. For instance, both teams played the Texas Longhorns this season. Whereas Texas whipped North Carolina by the score of 85-67, UCLA beat Texas, 65-63. In both games, Texas was the home team and they played without their best player, Myck Kabongo.
Moreover, both teams have interesting facts with their wins and losses this season. Whereas North Carolina has not beaten any ranked teams this season, UCLA has beaten several ranked teams. UCLA beat the Missouri Tigers (in overtime) and the Arizona Wildcats (in a three-game sweep). North Carolina was actually on the receiving end of the a three-game sweep from the 2013 ACC Tournament Champions, the Miami (FL) Hurricanes.
Until this season panned out, it was funny laughing at UCLA. Let’s face it. They have three former North Carolina players. There are plenty of “leftover jokes” that you find on the internet. Also, after their first 10 games, their record was 7-3. However, after North Carolina’s first 10 games, they were 8-2; very similar.
Things changed for both teams this season. Although both teams were ranked higher than they deserved, UCLA finished the season ranked in the Associated Press (AP) Top 25 rankings. North Carolina did not, though they did improve throughout the season. Another important note is that UCLA (25-9) has a slightly better record than North Carolina (24-10). Although both teams are sleepers to make a Final Four run this year, UCLA deserves a great deal of respect for what they have accomplished this season despite the jokes and unfair comparisons to North Carolina.
It is highly unlikely that UCLA and North Carolina will face each other in this year’s NCAA Tournament. However, it is possible. If it does take place, these teams would meet in the Regional Finals, also known as the “Elite Eight.” If this game takes place, it will not be a game between a school that is a “has-been” and “a powerhouse.” It will be a game consisting of two evenly skilled teams that share familiar faces.