April 02, 2021
INDIANAPOLIS – No. 11-seed UCLA (22-9) will take on No. 1-seed Gonzaga (30-0) in the NCAA Final Four on Saturday, April 3. Game time is 5:34 p.m. (PT). This will mark UCLA’s 19th appearance in the Final Four and the program’s first trip to the national semifinals since 2008. UCLA has gone 2-3 in the all-time series against Gonzaga, with two of those five contests having taken place in the NCAA Tournament (2006, 2015).
Venue: Lucas Oil Stadium (Indianapolis, Ind.)
Game Time: 5:34 p.m. PT (8:34 p.m. ET)
TV Talent: Jim Nantz (play-by-play), Bill Raftery (analyst), Grant Hill (analyst), Tracy Wolfson (sideline)
Radio (UCLA Sports Network): AM 1150
Radio Talent: Josh Lewin (play-by-play), Tracy Murray (analyst)
SIRIUS and XM Radio Channels: Ch. 84 / Ch. 84
SIRIUSXM Internet Channel: Ch. 84
ABOUT THE BRUINS
– UCLA has advanced to the NCAA Final Four for the 19th time in program history (and for the first time since 2008).
– The Bruins have won five consecutive games after having entered the NCAA Tournament on a four-game losing streak.
– UCLA has gone 13-5 in 18 previous Final Four contests and last advanced to the national title game in 2006.
– This marks the first NCAA Tournament for each of UCLA’s players except for senior guard Chris Smith (who is injured).
– UCLA has won a nation-leading 11 NCAA Championships, including the program’s most recent title in 1995.
– The Bruins have defeated a No. 2 seed (Alabama) and No. 1 seed (Michigan), en route to this season’s Final Four.
– Not including Chris Smith (injured), UCLA has five active players who have averaged at least 9.0 points per game.
– UCLA lost to BYU and Michigan State in the 2019 Maui Invitational but defeated both teams in the last two weeks.
– The Bruins have committed fewer fouls than their opponent in 23 of 31 games this season.
HOW DID UCLA GET HERE?
The Bruins opened NCAA Tournament action in the “First Four” on Thursday, March 18, with a matchup against No. 11-seed Michigan State (at Purdue’s Mackey Arena). UCLA fell behind by as many as 14 points (40-26) with just under three minutes to play before halftime. The Bruins won the game in overtime, 86-80, after limiting Michigan State to just three points in the extra session. Since that win, UCLA has registered consecutive victories over 6-seed BYU (73-62), 14-seed Abilene Christian (67-47), 2-seed Alabama (88-78 in OT) and No. 1-seed Michigan (51-49).
UCLA had entered the NCAA Tournament on a four-game losing streak against teams that all advanced to this season’s March Madness field-of-68 (at Colorado, at Oregon, vs. USC and vs. Oregon State). UCLA led at halftime in each of those four games and had a double-digit second-half lead in the games against USC and Oregon State.
Mick Cronin is one of just five coaches to have led his teams to the past 10 NCAA Tournaments. That includes nine consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances as the head coach at Cincinnati (2011-19). Joining Cronin on that list are Mark Few (Gonzaga), Tom Izzo (Michigan State), Bill Self (Kansas) and Roy Williams (North Carolina).
After losing in Sweet 16 matchups in 2014, 2015 and 2017, UCLA has advanced to the NCAA Tournament’s final weekend for the first time since former head coach Ben Howland led the Bruins to consecutive final fours in 2006, 2007 and 2008. This will mark UCLA’s 19th trip to the Final Four. The Bruins are seeking an opportunity to play in the NCAA title game for the 14th time in program history. Previously, UCLA has gone 13-5 in 18 NCAA Final Four contests. The Bruins’ program won 10 national titles under the late Coach John Wooden (including seven consecutive championships from 1967-1973).
Since the tournament expanded to 32 teams in 1975, UCLA has made eight trips to the Final Four (national semifinals). The Bruins have become the first Pac-12 program to advance to the Final Four since Oregon in 2017. Through the program’s past 10 trips to the Elite Eight (since 1975), the Bruins have gone 8-2 (including this week’s win over Michigan). Bruins’ head coach Mick Cronin (second year with the Bruins) has secured his first-ever Final Four appearance this season (now in his 18th year as a college head coach). Cronin’s teams have advanced to the NCAA Tournament 12 times.
The Pac-12 Conference is seeking its 17th all-time championship for league members, the league’s first title since Arizona captured the national championship in 1997. UCLA has won 11 of those 17 championships. This season, Pac-12 programs have tallied a combined record of 13-4 in the NCAA Tournament.
– Tyger Campbell (first team), Jaime Jaquez Jr. (second team) and Johnny Juzang (second team) earned All-Pac-12 honors.
– Tyger Campbell (10.2 ppg, 5.3 apg) ranks No. 3 in the Pac-12 in assists per game and No. 4 in assist-turnover ratio (2.8).
– Jaime Jaquez Jr. (34.8) and Tyger Campbell (33.5) have ranked No. 4 and 8, respectively, in the Pac-12 in minutes/game.
– Johnny Juzang leads all Pac-12 players in free throw percentage (90.2%, 55 of 61).
– David Singleton ranks No. 2 in the Pac-12 in 3-point percentage (47.0%, 39-for-83).
Johnny Juzang has averaged 21.6 points and 3.6 rebounds in five NCAA Tournament wins. He totaled a team-best 27 points in a 73-62 win over BYU (March 20). He became the third UCLA player to have scored at least 20 points in each of his first two NCAA Tournament contests (joining Lew Alcindor and Reggie Miller in that category). Juzang’s 108 total points through five NCAA Tournament contests is tied as the second-best point total for any UCLA player through his first five NCAA Tournament games (Lew Alcindor had 134 points in his first five games).
UCLA VERSUS GONZAGA
UCLA has compiled a 2-3 all-time record against Gonzaga. The two schools last faced each other twice during the 2015 calendar year. Gonzaga defeated UCLA, 74-62, in the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16 in March 2015 (in Houston, Texas). Nine months later, the Bruins secured a 71-66 road win against Gonzaga, at McCarthey Athletic Center, on Dec. 12, 2015. UCLA overcame a 42-29 halftime deficit to defeat Gonzaga, 73-71, in the Elite Eight at the 2006 NCAA Tournament. In the first-ever meeting between both schools (Dec. 11, 1999), No. 24 Gonzaga defeated UCLA, 59-43, in Pauley Pavilion.
Tyger Campbell, a sophomore from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, has averaged 10.1 points and 5.4 assists per game (29 contests). This marks the first season since 2015-16 in which UCLA has returned its starting point guard from the previous year (2014-15 and 2015-16, Bryce Alford). From 2011-12 through 2020-21, UCLA has utilized nine different primary (or starting) point guards. Prior to Campbell, Jaylen Hands served as the Bruins’ primary ball handler in 2018-19. Campbell has been UCLA’s first point guard to start each game during his freshman year since Lonzo Ball in 2016-17. Campbell has scored in double figures in 12 of the Bruins’ games and has registered at least 10 assists in two contests.
FEWEST TURNOVERS SINCE
UCLA commited just four turnovers in the 73-62 win against BYU on March 20 at Butler’s Hinkle Fieldhouse. That marked the fewest turnovers by a UCLA team since March 19, 2017, when UCLA had 21 assists and three turnovers in a 79-67 win over Cincinnati (second round, NCAA Tournament). UCLA turned the ball over six times in the first 16 minutes versus Michigan State, and then went the final 29 minutes of that game with just two turnovers. In the next game (vs. BYU), UCLA had four turnovers in 40 minutes, meaning the Bruins had just six turnovers in a 69-minute span. Since December of 1974, UCLA has had just 10 games (out of nearly 1,500) in which the Bruins have committed four or fewer turnovers.
UCLA’s 18-game home winning streak ended in the regular-season finale (lost to USC, 64-63). USC’s Tahj Eaddy hit a 3-pointer from the corner with 1.4 seconds left on the clock. The Bruins had won 18 consecutive home games prior to that contest. That 18-game streak began with a 50-40 win against California on Jan. 19, 2020. The Bruins’ 18-game home winning streak marked the program’s best such streak (at home) since logging 25 consecutive home victories from Feb. 2006 through Nov. 2007. Most recently, UCLA had a perfect home record in 2006-07, going 16-0 in Pauley Pavilion.
Sophomore Johnny Juzang scored a career-high 32 points in a 64-61 win at Washington (Feb. 13, 2021). He became UCLA’s first player with at least 30 points in a game since Chris Smith (against Colorado, Jan. 30, 2020, in Pauley Pavilion). Juzang’s 32-point effort at Washington marked the most points in a game by any UCLA player since Kris Wilkes had 34 points during his sophomore season in a home win over Arizona (Jan. 26, 2019). Aaron Holiday is UCLA’s most recent player to have scored 30 points (or more) in multiple games in one season (2017-18, with four games of 30+ points).
As a freshman last season at the University of Kentucky, Juzang played in 28 games (two starts) and averaged just 12.4 minutes per game (2.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game). Through 29 games with the Bruins this season, Juzang has averaged 31.4 minutes per game (team-high 15.1 points per game, 4.1 rebounds per game).
UCLA DEFEATS ALABAMA
The Bruins advanced to the Elite Eight last Sunday with an 88-78 overtime win against No. 2-seed Alabama. That marked the program’s first win over a No. 1 or No. 2 seed since knocking off No. 1-seed Kansas (68-55) in the 2007 Elite Eight (in San Jose, Calif.). Since 2007, the Bruins had faced a No. 1 seed three times (0-3 record) and a No. 2 seed three times (0-3 record). UCLA had last faced a No. 2 seed in 2017, falling to Kentucky in the Sweet 16 (regional semifinals), 86-75.
NO. 1-SEED, NO. 2-SEED
This marks the first time in the NCAA Tournament that the Bruins have defeated a No. 1-seed and a No. 2-seed (in the same tournament), since the NCAA began to “seed” every participating team in 1979. UCLA has not faced two teams that were seeded either No. 1 or No. 2 in the same tournament since advancing to the Final Four in 2007. UCLA defeated No. 2-seed Alabama, 88-78, in overtime on March 28. Two nights later, the Bruins edged No. 1-seed Michigan at Lucas Oil Stadium.
UCLA has won five consecutive games in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since advancing to the national title game in 2006. Prior to this season’s run, UCLA had not won three consecutive NCAA Tournament games since 2008. UCLA has not won six consecutive games in the NCAA Tournament since winning the 1995 NCAA Championship at the Kingdome in Seattle. The Bruins have become just the second team to advance to the Final Four from the First Four (also, VCU in 2011).
COURTESY UCLA ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS