Each year, there are teams that have the potential to lose very early or make a Final Four run. These are the teams that will ruin your bracket.
Before the brackets came out, the talented UCLA Bruins were a lot of people’s sleeper pick for a Final Four run. Now that the Bruins were put in the loaded South, however, questions remain how far this team can go.
If Joel Embiid doesn’t end up playing, UCLA might have the most NBA talent on its roster in the region. Kyle Anderson is the type of scorer who could get hot and carry a team all the way to the Final Four, and, as a 6-foot-9 guard, he can create matchup problems for any defense.
UCLA has two legitimate X-factors off the bench in Zach LaVine and Tony Parker and can get scoring from a variety of positions. The Bruins also come in hot, having knocked off No. 1 seed Arizona to win the Pac-12 tournament.
The biggest problem with the Bruins is out of the team’s control, and that is the South Region. A “third round” matchup will be against March-darling VCU or red-hot Stephen F. Austin. The Vegas favorite Florida Gators loom as a matchup in the Sweet 16, and the Gators have the defense to subdue the Bruins. The Kansas Jayhawks could be an Elite Eight matchup, and Embiid might be back and in form by then.
The Bottom Line:
UCLA looks like a team that could make a Final Four run. It all comes down to whether you believe the Bruins’ offensive firepower can solve the tenacious defense of the Gators. If you do and you also believe Embiid won’t be 100 percent before Kansas loses, UCLA is a team that should be in your Final Four.
Donnie Kolakowski is a writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @zenoknows