ESPN’s Joe Lunardi’s latest guess has UCLA in the Midwest Regional as a sixth-seeded team. The Bruins would be the California outsiders, playing Wichita State in their first game, a win advancing them to play the winner of Kansas State and North Dakota State.
Jerry Palm of CBSsportsline.com is banking on the selection committee’s sense of humor. His prediction has the Bruins playing North Carolina in Salt Lake City.
UCLA’s Larry Drew II, David Wear and Travis Wear are all North Carolina transfers.
It’s a scenario the Bruins would love. They would be a ninth-seeded team, but would be playing in the West Regional. Reaching the Sweet 16 would put UCLA at Staples Center.
The Bruins, the Pac-12 regular-season champions, believe they belong in the west even after losing to Oregon.
“Yeah, we lost to Oregon, but we’re regular season Pac-12 champs,” Travis Wear said. “I think we’ll get a good seed. If we would have beaten Oregon, it would have put the nail in the coffin. We’d be in the west.”
Wherever the Bruins play, they will be without forward Jordan Adams, their second-leading scorer. He broke his right foot against Arizona in the conference tournament semifinal.
“We have to have our heads up, go into this with optimism,” Drew said. “We play better after a loss, this season has taught us that. The seeding won’t be what we want, but we’re ready to go.”
The pairings will be announced during a selection show that starts at 3 p.m. PDT.