WHAT: NCAA South regional semifinal, Friday, 4:15 p.m.
WHERE: NRG Stadium, Houston. TV: CBS; Radio: 570.
UPDATE: This seems backward, guard Isaac Hamilton noted, and he's right: UCLA is playing Gonzaga in the second week of the NCAA tournament, and the plucky underdogs are the Bruins. Since making the tournament, UCLA's players have been asked constantly whether they deserved to be included in the field. Gonzaga, on the other hand, is just a few possessions from being undefeated. The Bulldogs have made 17 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances without a Final Four appearance, but this is their best opportunity in years. The pressure is off UCLA, Hamilton said. But the Bruins are up against an explosive offensive team. The first time these teams met in December, UCLA played well — and still lost, 87-74. Gonzaga has the fourth-most efficient offense in the country. It has a 7-foot-1 center, Przemek Karnowski, in the middle. It has three senior guards, including point Kevin Pangos. Forward Kyle Wiltjer, a transfer from Kentucky, is among the nation's best offensive players. He averages 17.1 points per game. UCLA hopes it has improved enough to score with Gonzaga. "I think we're a much, much [more] mature basketball team than what we were," UCLA Coach Steve Alford said. He's about to find out for sure.
GONZAGA; Ht; Wt; PPG; P; UCLA; Ht; Wt; PPG
Kevin Pangos; 6-2; 182; 11.8; G; Bryce Alford; 6-3; 180; 15.6
Gary Bell Jr.; 6-2; 214; 8.4; G; Isaac Hamilton; 6-4; 185; 10.6
Byron Wesley; 6-4; 206; 10.5; G; Norman Powell; 6-4; 215; 16.4
Kyle Wiltjer; 6-10; 240; 17.1; F; Kevon Looney; 6-9; 220; 11.6
Przemek Karnowski; 7-1; 288; 10.9; F; Tony Parker; 6-9; 260; 11.4
Josh Perkins; 6-3; 186; 5.0; G; Noah Allen; 6-6; 215; 1.4
Kyle Dranginis; 6-5; 202; 4.1; G/F; Gyorgy Goloman; 6-10; 210; 1.4
Domantas Sabonis; 6-10; 231; 9.7; C; Thomas Welsh; 7-0; 245; 3.9