AP Preview: UCLA vs. Mississippi

March 13, 2002

GAME: No. 9 Mississippi (20-10) vs. No. 8 UCLA (19-11).

REGIONAL: West, First Round.

TIME: Friday, 10:05 p.m. EST.

SITE: Mellon Arena, Pittsburgh.

UCLA has the talent to beat anyone in the NCAA tournament. Whether or not the Bruins will play up to their potential remains to be seen.

After making it to the regional semifinals last year, the Bruins open tournament play against Mississippi in the first meeting between the schools.

UCLA, which finished sixth in the Pac-10 this season, was knocked out of the conference tournament in the first round by California, 67-61.

When they are playing well, the Bruins can be beat anyone as seen by victories this season over No. 2 Kansas, No. 7 Arizona and No. 8 Alabama. However, with the glory has come inconsistency as UCLA has suffered bad losses to lesser teams like Arizona State and Villanova.

Coach Steve Lavin has led the Bruins to at least the regional semifinals in four of the last five seasons, including a round-of-16 loss to eventual national champion Duke last year.

Jason Kapono leads UCLA in scoring, averaging 16.7 points, followed by Matt Barnes with 13.4 and Dan Gadzuric with 11.1 per game. Gadzuric, a 6-foot-11 senior, leads UCLA in rebounding, grabbing 7.6 per game.

UCLA will have its hands full with Mississippi's stingy defense. The Rebels have held the opposition to 63.8 points and 42.9 percent shooting per game.

"I think UCLA is a team that, if they play well, can beat anybody in the country," Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes said. "There is no question about that. We are a defensive-minded team and that is why we are where we are."

While defense is Mississippi's calling card, the Rebels also have a few players who can get on a roll offensively.

Forward Justin Reed, who is averaging a team-leading 14.6 points, likes to work in the post and is a good rebounder, pulling down 6.7 per game.

The Rebels are hoping to bounce back from a 69-67 loss to South Carolina in the first round of the SEC tournament.

Mississippi also made to the round of 16 in last year's NCAA tournament, defeating Iona and Notre Dame before losing to Arizona.

PROBABLE STARTERS: Mississippi - F Reed (14.6 ppg, 6.7 rpg), F Derrick Allen (9.2 ppg, 6.1 rpg), G Aaron Harper (11.6 ppg, 4.1 rpg), G Jason Harrison (10 ppg, 3.9 apg), G David Sanders (12.7 ppg, 4.6 rpg). UCLA - F Barnes (13.4 ppg, 5.9 rpg), F Kapono (16.7 ppg, 5.4 rpg), C Gadzuric (11.1 ppg, 7.6 rpg), G Billy Knight (13.9 ppg, 3.3 rpg), G Cedric Bozeman (3.8 ppg, 3.5 apg).

HOW THEY GOT HERE: Mississippi - At-large bid, Southeastern Conference. UCLA - At-large bid, Pac-10 conference.

ALL-TIME TOURNAMENT RECORD: Mississippi - 3-5, 6 years. UCLA - 83-30, 38 years.

UCLA Health Sponsor - Event Information
Friday, Oct 30
vs. Cal State Los ...
Los Angeles, CA
W, 95 - 57
Friday, Nov 13
vs. Monmouth
Los Angeles, CA
L, 81 - 84 (OT)
Sunday, Nov 15
vs. Cal Poly
Los Angeles, CA
W, 88 - 83
Thursday, Nov 19
vs. Pepperdine
Los Angeles, CA
W, 81 - 67
Monday, Nov 23
vs. UNLV
Lahaina, HI
W, 77 - 75
Tuesday, Nov 24
vs. Kansas
Lahaina, HI
L, 73 - 92
Wednesday, Nov 25
vs. Wake Forest
Lahaina, HI
L, 77 - 80
Sunday, Nov 29 - 4:00 PM PST
vs. CSUN
Los Angeles, CA
Thursday, Dec 03 - 6:00 PM PST
vs. Kentucky
Los Angeles, CA
Sunday, Dec 06 - 6:00 PM PST
vs. Long Beach State
Los Angeles, CA
Saturday, Dec 12 - 7:00 PM PST
at Gonzaga
Spokane, WA
Tuesday, Dec 15 - 6:00 PM PST
vs. Louisiana-Lafayette
Los Angeles, CA
Saturday, Dec 19 - 10:00 AM PST
vs. North Carolina
Brooklyn, NY
Tuesday, Dec 22 - 8:00 PM PST
vs. McNeese State
Los Angeles, CA
Friday, Jan 01 - 8:00 PM PST
at Washington
Seattle, WA
Sunday, Jan 03 - 6:30 PM PST
at Washington State
Pullman, WA
Thursday, Jan 07 - 6:00 PM PST
vs. Arizona
Los Angeles, CA
Saturday, Jan 09 - 2:00 PM PST
vs. Arizona State
Los Angeles, CA
Wednesday, Jan 13 - 8:00 PM PST
vs. USC
Los Angeles, CA
Wednesday, Jan 20 - 8:00 PM PST
at Oregon State
Corvallis, OR
Saturday, Jan 23 - 1:00 PM PST
at Oregon
Eugene, OR
Thursday, Jan 28 - 7:00 PM PST
vs. Washington
Los Angeles, CA
Saturday, Jan 30 - 4:00 PM PST
vs. Washington State
Los Angeles, CA
Thursday, Feb 04 - 7:30 PM PST
at USC
Los Angeles, CA
Friday, Feb 12 - 6:00 PM PST
at Arizona
Tucson, AZ
Sunday, Feb 14 - 5:30 PM PST
at Arizona State
Tempe, AZ
Thursday, Feb 18 - 7:00 PM PST
vs. Utah
Los Angeles, CA
Saturday, Feb 20 - 8:00 PM PST
vs. Colorado
Los Angeles, CA
Thursday, Feb 25 - 6:00 PM PST
at California
Berkeley, CA