The UCLA Bruins are always watched closely due to their historic background, but despite that pressure, coach Steve Alford has led the Bruins to back-to-back Sweet 16 appearances.
The Bruins have defeated SMU and UAB on their journey to the Sweet 16 as a No. 11 seed. Many people had the Bruins losing the first round to SMU due to their AAC tournament championship, but the Bruins came to play. The stars have been shining in the spotlight, especially coach’s son Bryce Alford. He has been playing at an extremely high level for the Bruins by scoring the basketball from everywhere on the floor.
Alford, Tony Parker and Norman Powell have been the leaders for this team for the NCAA tournament, and if Kevon Looney starts to step up his game to another level during their next matchup, they will be a tough team to beat.
The matchup between Gonzaga and UCLA is very intriguing, because the Bulldogs defeated the Bruins with ease earlier in the season; but this is a far better UCLA team. The matchup between Looney and Parker with Gonzaga’s big men is very intriguing, as is the guard matchup. This is going to be a very high scoring game, and whoever has the hot hand will win.
UCLA is a very elite basketball school. Every coach who coaches there inherits a lot of pressure from the fans and the rest of college basketball, but coach Alford has found a way to be successful. He has found a way to make his talented players play as a team late in the season, because the guys have bought into his program. Alford deserves much more credit for the way he has rallied UCLA over the past two seasons.