4. UCLA Bruins (26-8, 15-6 Pac 12)-This might be the most under-the-radar contender in college hoops. UCLA captured the Pac-12 tournament title by knocking off No. 4 Arizona in the final on Saturday night. The Bruins are rolling under head coach Steve Alford, who has the team playing an athletic, up-tempo style that perfectly suits his personnel.
Point guard Kyle Anderson is 6-9 and creates matchup problems on the offensive end. He averages 14.9 points, 8.8 boards and 6.6 assists per game, which is ridiculous. Sophomore guard Jordan Adams (17.2 ppg, 5.2 rpg) is the team’s leading scorer and is a solid three-point shooter (36%). When he plays well, the Bruins have a great chance to win.
6-5 guard Zach Lavine (10 ppg) is one of the best dunkers in the nation. Forward Travis Wear (7 ppg) can also be a barometer for this team.
10th Points per Game (82.0)
5th Assists per Game (17.2)
9th Field Goal Percentage (.492)
9th Points per Possession (1.14)
13.Tulsa Golden Hurricane (21-12, 13-3 C-USA)- A Conference USA championship doesn’t mean as much as it once did, but the Golden Hurricane ‘weathered the storm’ and have advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2003.
Tulsa wasn’t a very good team early in the season, when it started off 1-6. They went just 5-9 in the nonconference and lost to TCU at home. But the Hurricane have rebounded to win 11 in a row, and will be one of the hottest teams in America heading into the Big Dance. Head coach Danny Manning is a March Madness legend himself, and after spending nine seasons on the Kansas bench under former Tulsa coach Bill Self.
Manning worked wonders with a young team that has only one senior on the roster. Sophomore guard James Woodard is the team’s leading scorer (15.3 ppg). This is a very small team, with no real rotation players taller than 6-8. It would be stunning if Tulsa advanced to the round of 32.
177th Field Goal Percentage (.442)
106th Points Allowed per Game (67.4)