UCLA squelches Tulsa’s upset bid in first tournament win since 2011

SAN DIEGO — With each March comes madness, and this year’s dose didn’t disappoint.

Across the country, double-digit seeds reigned. Mercer over Duke. North Dakota State over Oklahoma. Dayton over Ohio State.

By Friday afternoon, Warren Buffett’s money was already safe. The famed businessman and investor offered $1 billion to anyone who could fill out a perfect NCAA tournament bracket, partnering with Quicken Loans to set up the challenge. By 1:33 p.m. PT, only 16 were left.

Before night fell, those hopes died too. And the round of 64 wasn’t even over yet.

UCLA was up last, its tipoff at Viejas Arena pushed back by No.-12 seed Stephen F. Austin’s overtime thriller against VCU. With a 76-59 win over No. 13-seed Tulsa, the fourth-seed Bruins earned their first tournament victory in three years — calmly skirting around the upset bid. Continue reading

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Stephen F. Austin knocks off VCU, sets up potential date with UCLA

If UCLA beats Tulsa tonight, it’ll have a date with Stephen F. Austin.

The 12th-seeded Lumberjacks knocked off No. 5-seed Virginia Commonwealth, 77-75, on Friday night — extending its win streak to 29 games. With nearly all of Viejas Arena cheering in its favor, SFA forced overtime and survived VCU’s last-second 3-point attempt to advance to the round of 32. Continue reading

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How similar are Tulsa’s James Woodard and Stanford’s Chasson Randle?

Tulsa’s best player is unquestionably sophomore guard James Woodard, an All-Conference USA second-team selection who leads the team in scoring and rebounding.

Unsurprisingly, head coach Steve Alford pointed out Woodard as the main focus of the scouting report for UCLA’s Friday tipoff against the Golden Hurricane. Alford and Bruin guard Norman Powell compared Woodard to Stanford junior Chasson Randle, who combined for 51 points on 16-of-40 shooting in his three games against the Bruins.

Here’s how their stats measure up heading into the NCAA tournament:
Woodard, 6-3, 183 | 15.7 ppg, 44.2 FG%, 38.9 3P%, 78.2 FT%, 1.8 apg, 5.8 rpg, 1.0 spg
Randle, 6-2, 185 | 18.7 ppg, 48.5 FG%, 39.7 3P%, 76.5 FT%, 2.2 apg, 3.5 rpg, 0.9 spg Continue reading

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Basketball roundup: The Wooden family, coaching parallels, and 1994

The NCAA tournament’s round of 64 officially starts today, so hopefully you all filled out your brackets for a chance at Warren Buffett’s $1 billion. UCLA doesn’t tip off until Friday at around 7 p.m., but in the meantime, here’s a roundup of some of the coverage so far in this week’s Daily News:

– The Woodens are working to make sure their family legacy lives on.
– Danny Manning and Steve Alford’s careers have a few curious parallels.
– Tyus Edney reflects on UCLA’s 1994 loss to Tulsa, a game he ranks as the most disappointing of his college career.

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Forward Wanaah Bail undergoes left knee surgery, ruled out for first NCAA weekend

UCLA forward Wanaah Bail had surgery on his left knee today to remove torn cartilage, likely ending his first season with the Bruins.

The 6-foot-9 freshman only played 60 minutes this season, logging 41 of those in nonconference play. He had surgery to repair cartilage in the same knee last June, and reinjured it on Monday. The former three-star recruit had looked fully recovered after the early portion of the season, and showed impressive athleticism during practices.

Bail is officially ruled out for UCLA’s first weekend in the NCAA tournament, and is questionable to return at all in the postseason. Given how little coach Steve Alford used Bail this season, there is little sense in rushing him back even if the Bruins advance to the Sweet Sixteen.

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At a glance: No. 4 UCLA vs. No. 13 Tulsa

NCAA Tournament, South Region
Round of 64:
No. 4 UCLA (26-8) vs. No. 13 Tulsa (21-12)
When: Friday, 6:57 p.m. PT, Viejas Arena (San Diego State)
TV: truTV

RPI/Pomeroy ranking: 73 / 68

Best wins: A 69-60 victory over Louisiana Tech (27-7) to seize the C-USA tournament on Saturday, as well as wins over Middle Tennessee State (24-9) on Friday and in January. Continue reading

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