The Battle 4 Atlantis released its bracket this morning, slotting UCLA into what may be the tournament’s best opening-round game.
The Bruins will play Oklahoma on Nov. 26 at 2:30 p.m. ET, facing a Sooners squad that could be a top-15 team in the preseason AP rankings. OU returns top scorer Buddy Hield (16.5 points), leading rebounder Ryan Spangler (9.3) and assists leader Jordan Woodard (4.6).
After its first Sweet Sixteen appearance since 2008, UCLA’s young lineup features just one returning starter in Norman Powell, but adds a trio of touted freshmen in forwards Kevon Looney and Jonah Bolden, as well as center Thomas Welsh. Oklahoma will be the Bruins’ first test away from Pauley Pavilion.
The winner will advance to play either Butler or North Carolina.
Five-star running back Joe Mixon visited UCLA this past weekend, according to multiple reports. Rated a top-ten prospect nationally, the Oakley, Calif., product had committed to Oklahoma on Jan. 4, and insisted a few weeks later that rumors he would flip to the Bruins were untrue.
UCLA currently holds a commitment from four-star tailback Nate Starks, who verballed shortly after Mixon declared for the Sooners, and are also pursuing Arizona State commit Kalen Ballage.
UPDATE: Mixon will stick with Oklahoma, according to Scout.com’s Greg Biggins. The tailback also publicly reaffirmed his pledge.
Anyone itching for a long road trip can mark their calendars five years in advance: UCLA has scheduled a home-and-home series against Oklahoma. The Bruins will travel to Norman on Sept. 8, 2018, then play at the Rose Bowl on Sept. 14, 2019.
UCLA is 1-4 all-time against the Sooners, winning its last meeting 41-24 at the Rose Bowl in 2005.
“With Oklahoma recognized nationally and the new playoff system beginning next season, this is a great matchup for not only our team, but for our fans as well,” athletic director Dan Guerrero said in a statement.
UCLA finished fourth in the Super Six final last night, ending a season beset by injuries. Senior Vanessa Zamarripa, ranked No. 1 in vault, landed on her knees to end the Bruins’ night, but the team couldn’t have won its seventh title even if she had scored a perfect 10. (Full story here.)
“Emotionally, physically, mentally, we are spent,” coach Valorie Kondos Field said. “We left it all on the floor. As a coach, I could not ask for more from them.”
Florida, coached by former UCLA All-American Rhonda Faehn, won its first national title despite two falls off the beam to open the day. Oklahoma placed second, and two-time defending champion Alabama finished third.
You can also click through to a photo gallery of the event.