AUSTIN, Texas — Without Jordan Adams, sixth-seeded UCLA closed out its turbulent season with a flatlined performance against No. 11-seed Minnesota.
The Bruins were the slated underdog all week long. Once the game actually began at the Frank Erwin Center, they did nothing but reaffirm that talk in a 83-63 loss. What started out as an ugly but mutually designed affair — the teams missed their first 12 combined field goal attempts — eventually turned into a Gophers rout.
Despite shooting 26.7 percent in the first half, UCLA stayed within 10 points at the intermission due to a surprisingly strong rebounding effort. The team ended up with a 42-36 edge on the glass, grabbing 19 offensive boards on 43 missed shots.
It wasn’t until Minnesota point guard Andre Hollins caught fire in the second half that the Bruins were completely sunk. The sophomore scored 23 points after halftime, and added nine rebounds to go with five assists.
President Barack Obama unveiled his March Madness bracket this morning with ESPN’s Andy Katz, and joined the crowd when it came to the UCLA-Minnesota first-round game.
“UCLA lost a key player (in Jordan Adams),” he said. “Minnesota’s been playing tough. I think Tubby Smith’s team’s gonna do pretty well.”
Obama only picked one national champion correctly (UNC, 2009) in his first term, and his 2012 bracket was in the 63.6th percentile of ESPN users. This year, he picked Indiana to beat fellow No. 1-seed Louisville in the title game, with No. 3 Florida and No. 2 Ohio State filling out the rest of his Final Four.
No. 6 UCLA (25-9) vs. No. 11 Minnesota (20-12)
Tipoff: 6:57 p.m. PT, Frank Erwin Center (University of Texas at Austin) TV: truTV
Conference play: The Golden Gophers opened the season 15-1 and 3-0 in the Big Ten, but have lost 11 of their 16 games since. Minnesota finished in a three-way tie for seventh in the conference alongside Illinois, a seven-seed, and Purdue, which did not make the field of 68. The Gophers lost in the first round of the Big Ten tournament, falling 51-49 to the Illini.
Coach: Tubby Smith is one of the most well-known coaches in college basketball, but hasn’t replicated the success he had at Kentucky. He began his career in Lexington with an NCAA title in 1998, and reached three Elite Eights and two Sweet Sixteens before resigning in 2007 due to public pressure and dissatisfaction.
Minnesota will be making its third NCAA appearance in six years under Smith, and are looking for their first victory after two double-digit losses in the first round. Continue reading →