March 16, 2006
UCLA vs. Alabama - The Crimson Tide advanced with a 90-85 victory over Marquette. UA had three players score over 20 points, led by senior forward Jean Felix's career-high 31 points, including 8-11 from three-point range (the eight three-pointers was a Cox Arena NCAA Tournament and school NCAA Tournament record). UA head coach Mark Gottfried is in his 11th season. From 1988-95 he was an assistant coach on Jim Harrick's UCLA staff, including the Bruins' 1995 NCAA Championship season. Series History - It's tied 1-1overall and it's the first meeting in NCAA competition. On Dec. 8, 2001, No. 20 UCLA defeated No. 16 Alabama 79-57 at the Wooden Classic. On Jan. 28, 1983, No. 1 UCLA lost to Alabama 70-67 in Pauley Pavilion.
UCLA'S LAST GAME
March 16 - No. 7 UCLA 78, Belmont 44 - before 10,068 in a first round NCAA Tournament contest at San Diego's Cox Arena, Bruin freshman Luc Richard Mbah a Moute's season-high 17 points, game-high eight rebounds, season-high six assists and three steals led the No. 2 seed Bruins to a 78-44 victory over No. 15 seed Belmont. It was the Bruins' eighth consecutive victory. UCLA's 34-point winning margin was the largest of the season and in Bruin NCAA history, it was the biggest winning margin since 2000, when UCLA defeated Maryland 105-70 (35 points), in a second-round contest.
With 6:44 left in the first half, Belmont led 18-12. In the final six minutes of the first half (UCLA led 35-23 at halftime) and first eight minutes of the second half (UCLA led 47-28, 12:59 remaining), the Bruins outscored Belmont 35-10 (to lead 47-28 with 12:59 left in the game). UCLA's biggest second half lead was 36 points (78-42, 1:12 remaining) on a layup by Ryan Wright. UCLA's 45 rebounds was a season best and its 11 steals tied a season-high. Belmont shot .288 from the field, second-lowest opponent total this season.
Along with Mbah a Moute's season-best 17 points, also scoring in double figures for the Bruins were Ryan Hollins (10 points) and Darren Collison (10 points, and a season-high tying three steals). With his game-high eight rebounds, Mbah a Moute has led the Bruins in rebounding in 28 of 34 games, including the last three contests.
UCLA in the NCAA
This is UCLA's second appearance in the NCAA Tournament under Ben Howland. The No. 2 seed is UCLA's highest since 1997, when the Bruins were No. 2 in the Midwest. That year, UCLA advanced to the Elite Eight, defeating Charleston Southern and Xavier in Auburn Hills and Iowa State in San Antonio before losing to Minnesota.
Overall, this is UCLA's 40th appearance in the NCAA Tournament. UCLA holds the record for most championships won (11 in 1964-65-67-68-69-70-71-72-73-75-95) and longest winning streak - 38 games between 1964 and 1974.
In addition, UCLA ranks third in NCAA Tournament games won (86, Kentucky is No. 1 and North Carolina is No. 2) and second in tournament winning percentage (.729, Duke is No. 1).
Ben Howland - In his third season as the Bruin head coach, he's 57-34 (.626) and in the last two seasons, he's 46-17 (.730). In his 25th season in college basketball, he's in his 12 year as a head coach (225-133, .628). Entering the 2006 NCAA Tournament, he was one of only 28 coaches to lead three different schools to the Tournament (UCLA/ Pittsburgh/Northern Arizona). The 2006 Pac-10 Coach of the Year, Howland has also earned Conference Coach of the Year honors in the Big East and Big Sky Conferences. In 2006, he led the Bruins to their first regular season Pac-10 title since 1997 and their first Pac-10 Tournament crown since 1987 and in 2005, he led UCLA back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2002. He's 5-4 overall in the NCAA Tournament
The Bruins - UCLA has played 34 games (28-6), the most in school history and Arron Afflalo and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute have appeared in all 34 games, setting a school record for most games played in a single season . . . UCLA's No. 7 AP ranking (No. 8 ESPN/USA Today) is the highest since the Bruins' No. 3 ranking to start the 2001-02 season.
Eight-Game Winning Streak - It's the second time this season the Bruins have had an eight-game winning streak. In the current streak, UCLA is averaging 73.6 points, shooting .516 from the field, .423 from three-point range and .761 from the foul line and averaging 33.6 rebounds. Bruin opponents are averaging 53.4 points (Belmont's 44 points is the lowest opponent total during the eight-game winning streak) and shooting .388 from the field, .359 from three-point range and averaging 26.0 rebounds. Individually, the Bruins have had three players score in double figures - Arron Afflalo (14.9), Jordan Farmar (11.5/4.8 assists) and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (10.4, a team leading 6.5 rebounds and shooting a team-high .694 from the field). Also in the eight-game winning streak - Ryan Hollins has averaged 9.1 points, 5.5 rebounds and shot .675 from the field; Cedric Bozeman has averaged 7.8 points and shot 1.000 (13-13) from the foul line and Darren Collison is averaging 7.3 points, 2.1 assists and also shooting 1.000 (13-13) from the foul line.
UCLA Is - 28-5 when holding the opponent under 80 points. . . 22-1 when leading at halftime . . . 16-1 when shooting .500 or better from the field . . . 14-1 when holding the opponent to under .400 from the field . . . 24-2 when outshooting the opponent. . . 23-3 when outrebounding the opponent. . . 26-1 when leading with five minutes to play . . . The Bruins have shot at least .500 from the field in their last five games and in seven of the last eight contests . . . UCLA has outrebounded 11 of the last 12 opponents . . . With Cedric Bozeman in the lineup, the Bruins are 23-3 overall and with Bozeman as a starter, UCLA is 22-3.
Honors - Here's a list of the Bruin in-season team and individual player honors. On March 6, Jordan Farmar and Arron Afflalo were named first-team All-Pac-10 (UCLA leads the conference with 104 first-team selections).
Ben Howland - On March 6, was named the Pac-10 and USBWA Dist. IX Coach of the Year and on March 1, he was named a finalist for the Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year award. He's also been honored by CollegeInsider.com, CBS SportsLine.com and SI.com as the Pac-10 Coach of the Year.
Jordan Farmar - A member of the All Pac-10 Tournament team, on March 10, named a CollegeInsider.com All-American. On March 7, was named first-team USBWA All. Dist. IX, on March 6, he earned first-team All-Pac-10 and was named to the Wooden Award finalist list (22 players) and on March 1, was named the Pac-10 Most Valuable Player by CollegeInsider.com. On Feb. 18, Farmar was named first-team NABC All-Dist. 15. He was on the mid-season Naismith Trophy (30 players) and Wooden Award (30 players) lists. He is also a finalist for the Bob Cousy Award (nation's top point guard). Farmar is one of just four players, he's the only underclassman, mentioned for all three honors (joining senior guards, Illinois' Dee Brown, Pittsburgh's Carl Krauser and Syracuse's Gerry McNamara).
Arron Afflalo - A member of the All-Pac-10 Tournament team, on March 7, was named a first-team USBWA All-Dist. IX and CollegeInsider.com Defensive All-American, on March 6 was a first-team All-Pac-10 selection and named Pac-10 Player of the Week (for his play in the Bruins' sweep of the Bay Area), and on Feb. 18, Afflalo was named first-team NABC All-Dist. 15. He was named an early-season All-American by scout.com and named to the NIT Season Tip-Off All-Tournament team.
Farmar and Afflalo - were named the nation's No. 3 backcourt by SI.com (Jan. 25).
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute - on March 7 was named the CBS SportsLine.com and SI.com Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, on March 6 was named the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year (and Honorable Mention All-Pac-10) and a Freshman All-American by CollegeInsider.com. He was named to Seth Davis' SI.com All-Glue team on Feb. 15 (given to players who emphasize team play over individualism). He was named the Rivals.com National Freshman of the Week (Jan. 30) for his efforts in UCLA's two victories at the Oregon schools.