Will UCLA upset Kentucky again? March Madness Predictions 3/24/17


The Shockers are not the Bruins, but a repeat of that type of defensive effort should be enough to get Kentucky past UCLA and into the Elite Eight for the sixth time in eight years in front of what will be a very pro-Kentucky crowd.

It seemed as if Kentucky won by more because the Wildcats controlled the tempo and played defense with so much persistence and determination that they limited the Bruins to 15 points below their season average and never trailed in the second half. UCLA's star freshman point guard, Lonzo Ball has been widely considered the best player in college basketball.

Headlines from Hazard to Hollywood will celebrate the dazzling play of De'Aaron Fox, the freshman point guard who scored 39 for the Wildcats.

"That was my final game for UCLA, and I appreciate all the fans and all the support", Ball told reporters Friday after scoring 10 points with eight assists in an 86-75 loss to the Wildcats. Now the NCAA's winningest program will play another of basketball's titans Sunday in top-seeded North Carolina, a 92-80 victor over Butler earlier Friday, with a trip to yet another Final Four on the line.

One of five finalists for the Karl Malone Award, given annually to the nation's top power forward, Leaf leads the Bruins in scoring at 16.2 points per game and ranks 14th nationally in field-goal percentage at 61.6 percent.

T.J. Leaf, who could also follow Ball as a one-and-done, and Isaac Hamilton each tallied 17 points for the Bruins. There was the 2015 Wisconsin game when Calipari rode the Harrison Twins instead of empowering Devin "I Just Scored 70" Booker.

In a social media driven society, it's not out of the realm of possibility to think teenagers on the Kentucky side are aware of the nationwide attention the UCLA floor general has received.

Carolina, which reached the Elite Eight for the 27th time, will face the victor of Friday's second game between UCLA and Kentucky. Bam Adebayo did not have a point until late in the game when he got a key dunk.

"We gave up 97 (when United Kingdom lost to UCLA in December)".

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On Friday night, UCLA looked like it was running in place.

Monk, the Southeastern Conference player of the year had only seven points in the first half.

Kentucky is going to need a big game from Malik Monk.

Johnathan Motley had 12 of his 18 points in the second half for Baylor (27-8), which missed 11 of their first 13 shots from the field and finished 30.4 percent overall. Yes, Alford finished with 13 points, but he labored from distance, making only three of nine. Allen broke out of a slump with a career-high 35 points.

"They started playing downhill", said Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin after UCLA had beaten both his team and his game plan, 79-67.

The Bruins were trailing at halftime, 36-33, after a first half that featured 13 lead changes. "Every game we play is a war". Now the NCAA's winningest program will play another of basketball's titans Sunday in top-seeded North Carolina with a trip to yet another Final Four on the line.

North Carolina's top priority will be containing Monk, who scored a career-high 47 points in the first game between the two foes earlier this year.

But while the Bulldogs would cut the Carolina advantage to 10 points 2 minutes later, they would get no closer the rest of the way. Kentucky made 10 3-pointers to make up for the lack of scoring in the post.