A thoughts on how the Bruins finished and where they’re going next …
1. UCLA’s going to back-to-back Sweet 16s doesn’t necessarily mean you should expect a third. The Bruins could certainly be better next season. They will have more depth in the backcourt, though losing freshman Kevon Looney would be a tremendous blow to the frontcourt. Gyorgy Goloman looks like a nice under-the-radar find, but I think he and center Thomas Welsh will pay bigger dividends as juniors rather than sophomores. Introducing former four-star recruit Jonah Bolden will help significantly; he spent his ineligible season transitioning from the four to the three, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he starts immediately.
But it is unreasonable to expect the type of good fortune that has followed UCLA these past two postseasons. The Bruins deserve credit for taking advantage of their opportunities, but drawing a double-digit seed twice in the round of 32 is as friendly a path as any team could hope to see. At least Stephen F. Austin was a team that was good enough to return to the NCAA Tournament this season; I’m not sure the same can be said for UAB, which was likely one of the 10 weakest teams in the whole field.
Let’s hazard a guess and say that the Bruins draw a No. 5- or 6-seed in next year’s NCAA Tournament. Will they be able to knock off a fourth- or third-seeded team to end the weekend? Continue reading →
Kevon Looney’s college career likely ended with UCLA’s 74-62 loss to Gonzaga on Friday, the former five-star recruit expected by most to declare for the NBA draft. But in the locker room at NRG Stadium in Houston, he declined to commit either way on his future.
“UCLA is a great, great school,” he said. “I had a lot of fun playing here. I feel like I could improve as a basketball player and as a person. College is always a great place to build your character and build your game. So I could see myself coming back.”
Point guard Bryce Alford talked about UCLA’s 74-62 loss to Gonzaga on Friday, one that ended the Bruins’ season in the Sweet 16. He had eight points and four assists to close his sophomore year, and only shot 3 of 11.
“I missed a fast-break layup, and I don’t remember the last time I did that. (Isaac Hamilton) did it a couple of possessions later. … It was just one of those nights when the ball didn’t bounce our way and we didn’t make enough shots.”