UCLA Returns to NCAA Tournament, Set to Face Minnesota

March 18, 2013

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LOS ANGELES - The UCLA men's basketball team, seeded No. 6 in the NCAA Tournament's South Region, will face No. 11-seed Minnesota (20-12, 8-10 Big Ten) on Friday evening at approximately 6:57 p.m. (PT) in Austin, Texas. The second-round NCAA Tournament game will be televised live by truTV. UCLA has not faced Minnesota since an Elite Eight appearance in the 1997 NCAA Tournament.

Event: NCAA Tournament, second round
Venue: Frank Erwin Center (capacity: 16,292)
Tip-Off Time: 6:57 p.m. (PT)/8:57 p.m. (CT)
Television: truTV
TV Talent: Tim Brando, Mike Gminski, Otis Livingston
Radio (UCLA Sports Network from IMG College): AM 570
Radio Talent: Chris Roberts (play-by-play), Tracy Murray (analyst)

Overall Record: 25-9
Pac-12 Record: 13-5
Pac-12 Regular-Season Finish: 1st/12
Pac-12 Tournament Finish: 2nd/12
Head Coach: Ben Howland
Coach's Record at UCLA: 233-106 (10th season)
Coach's Record Overall: 401-205 (19th season)

Overall Record: 20-12
Big Ten Record: 8-10
Big Ten Regular-Season Finish: 9th/12
Big Ten Tournament Finish: first round (L, 51-49, vs. Illinois)
Head Coach: Tubby Smith
Coach's Record at UCLA: 123-80 (6th season)
Coach's Record Overall: 510-225 (22nd season)

(3) Florida vs. (14) Northwestern State, 4:27 p.m. (PT)
(6) UCLA vs. (11) Minnesota, 6:57 p.m. (PT)

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UCLA has returned to the NCAA Tournament for the second time in the last three seasons and for the seventh time in Ben Howland's 10-year tenure as head coach. The Bruins are making their 45th overall NCAA Tournament appearance and will face Minnesota for the first time since a 1997 NCAA Tournament loss (Elite Eight) to the Golden Gophers on March 22, 1997 (Minnesota was later stripped of its Final Four appearance that season). None of UCLA's current players competed on the Bruins' 2010-11 NCAA Tournament team (Travis, David Wear redshirted that season after transferring from North Carolina). The Bruins are 100-37 all-time in 44 previous NCAA Tournament trips.

The Bruins have won four of the last eight Pac-12 regular-season titles, having clinched the 2013 crown with a 61-54 victory at Washington on March 9. Later that day, Oregon lost at Utah by a 72-62 margin, allowing UCLA to assume sole possession of first place on the final day of regular-season Pac-12 games. UCLA advanced to the championship game of the Pac-12 Tournament last weekend, dropping a 78-69 decision to Oregon at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The Bruins had erased double-digit second half deficits against Arizona State (March 14) and Arizona (March 15) to advance to the tournament's title game for the first time since winning the crown in 2008.

UCLA has registered a 5-1 all-time record against Minnesota, with the five victories all coming under the guidance of legendary head coach John Wooden. The Bruins faced the Golden Gophers in five seasons during the 1960s winning two games at home, two games on the road and one game at a neutral site. Minnesota defeated the Bruins, 80-72, in the "Elite Eight" during the 1997 NCAA Tournament before being stripped of the Final Four appearance that season (NCAA violations). In 19 seasons as a college head coach, Ben Howland has never before faced Minnesota.

UCLA enters this season's NCAA Tournament having won nine of its last 12 games ... the Bruins completed the Pac-12 regular season with a 13-5 conference record and first-place finish ... UCLA lost to Oregon, 78-69, in the Pac-12 Tournament championship game last Saturday in Las Vegas.

The Bruins have compiled an 11-2 record this season in games decided by five points or fewer ... Larry Drew II both earned first-team All-Pac-12 Conference honors last week ... Jordan Adams, UCLA's second-leading scorer (15.3 ppg), broke his right foot March 15 and is out for the season.

Larry Drew II ranks in the top four, nationally, in both assists per game (7.4) and assist turnover ratio (3.1) ... Drew II's 253 single-season assists are third-most in Pac-12 history and first on UCLA's single-season list.

Head coach Ben Howland secured career victory No. 400 in UCLA's 80-75 win over Arizona State on March 14.

UCLA leads the Pac-12 in scoring (74.7), assists (16.1), turnover margin (3.1) and assist turnover ratio (1.5) ... in addition, the Bruins gone 7-5 against this season's 68-team NCAA Tournament field.

- Jordan Adams scored a team-leading 24 points, including 16 points in the second half, to help UCLA complete the season sweep of Arizona with a 66-64 victory last Friday evening (Pac-12 semifinal) ... Adams suffered a broken right foot on the game's final play (on defense) and has been sidelined for the remainder of the year.
- UCLA went 3-0 against Arizona for the second time in school history and for the first time since 2006 ... the Bruins have won five of their last seven games against the Wildcats.
- The Bruins overcame a 15-point deficit in the second half against Arizona State last Thursday (80-75) before erasing Arizona's 11-point lead with 11 minutes to play on Friday (66-64) to advance to the Pac-12 Tournament title game.
- Jordan Adams became UCLA's first freshman to score at least 20 points in a Pac-12 Tournament game (March 15) since the conference resumed its tournament in 2002 ... he has scored 20-plus points 11 times this year.
- The Bruins have won at least 25 games in five of the last eight seasons ... prior to head coach Ben Howland's arrival, UCLA had won 25 or more games in six of the previous 28 seasons (after John Wooden retired).
- UCLA's three freshman starters (Jordan Adams, Kyle Anderson, Shabazz Muhammad) have accounted for 54.7 percent of UCLA's total points, 47.3 percent of the total rebounds and 43.3 percent of the total minutes.
- Ben Howland is one of five head coaches in Pac-12 history to have won at least 100 conference games and maintained a winning percentage above .650 (also John Wooden, Lute Olson, Jim Harrick, and Mike Montgomery).
- Larry Drew II has logged 1204 minutes (averaging 35.4 mpg), the highest total by any UCLA player since 2008, when Russell Westbrook (1318) and Josh Shipp (1269) each logged over 1200 minutes.

Larry Drew II registered his first-ever 20-point effort in UCLA's 80-75 win over Arizona State last Thursday (March 14), connecting on all four three-point shots. Through UCLA's last six games, Drew II has made 9 of 15 shots from three-point range (.600) and has shot 50.0 percent from the field (25-50). In the recent six-game span, Drew II has averaged 10.2 ppg and 5.8 apg. He finished with 14 points in the Pac-12 Tournament championship game (March 16). Drew II, a former guard at North Carolina, has scored in double figures in 10 games (including six of UCLA's last 10).

Larry Drew II and Shabazz Muhammad earned first-team All-Pac-12 honors, and Kyle Anderson secured second-team All-Pac-12 acclaim. Muhammad was named Co-Freshman of the Year along with Arizona State's Jahii Carson. Muhammad, who ranks fourth in the Pac-12 in scoring (17.8 ppg), has become the eighth player at UCLA to earn Pac-12 Freshman of the Year accolades. Muhammad and Anderson were named to the All-Pac-12 Freshmen Team, while Jordan Adams was chosen as an honorable mention All-Freshmen Team selection.

Shabazz Muhammad and Arizona State's Jahii Carson were named Pac-12 Co-Freshman of the Year. UCLA's past recipients include Pooh Richardson (1986), Don MacLean (1989), Baron Davis (1998), Jason Kapono (2000), Jordan Farmar (2005), Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (2006) and Kevin Love (2008).

Between the 15 total All-Pac-12 Team selections (10 first-team, 5 second-team), UCLA led the way among all Pac-12 programs with three selections. UCLA, Arizona and Colorado were the only programs to have two players represented as first-team All-Pac-12 selections.

Larry Drew II became UCLA's single-season assists leader during the Bruins' 61-54 victory at Washington on March 9 in the team's regular-season finale. Drew II, who hails from Encino, Calif., now has 253 assists as a senior, three ahead of Pooh Richardson's total of 236, a record previously established in 1989. He is tied for fourth place with Russell Brown (Arizona, 1979) on the Pac-12's single-season assists list.

Larry Drew II has moved into third place on the Pac-12's single-season assist list after having totaled six assists in UCLA's 78-69 loss to Oregon in the Pac-12 Tournament title game last Saturday evening (March 16). Earlier this season, Drew II moved past former UCLA standout Pooh Richardson for the Bruins' single-season assists record. Richardson, a former NBA standout, totaled 236 assists as a senior in 1989.

The Bruins have gone 11-2 in games decided by five points or fewer this season. In 10 seasons under head coach Ben Howland, UCLA has logged a 59-33 record (.641) in games decided by five points or fewer. The Bruins overcame double-digit deficits in their first two Pac-12 Tournament games last week. During the regular season, UCLA's two greatest comeback wins took place against Texas (Dec. 8) and Missouri (Dec. 28). The Bruins trailed Texas (in Houston) by eight points (59-51) with 3:43 to play in regulation and took a 62-61 lead with 47 seconds left. UCLA was losing to Missouri by nine points (86-77) with 5:34 remaining in the second half before winning the game in overtime.

UCLA has gone 4-2 against teams ranked in the top-25 this season (team must be ranked during week of game) and has posted a 2-0 mark against top-10 ranked opponents. This marks the fourth season in Ben Howland's 10-year tenure as UCLA's head coach that the Bruins have earned at least two wins against top-10 teams - UCLA downed No. 7 Missouri (97-94, overtime) on Dec. 28 and knocked off No. 6 Arizona (84-73) on Jan. 24. Most recently, the Bruins knocked off No. 18 Arizona in the Pac-12 Tournament semifinals on March 15.

Freshman guard Nick Kazemi remains sidelined with a sprained left MCL (sustained the injury on Oct. 26, 2012).

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