2015 NCAA tournament preview: UCLA Bruins

UCLA Bruins

Record: 20-13, 11-7 Pac 12

Head coach: Steve Alford (2nd season)

Season summary: UCLA's season could be described as lukewarm at best, which made the Bruins the most surprising selection in this year's tournament field. Not only was it somewhat of a shock that UCLA made the NCAA tournament, but even more puzzling that they bypassed the First Four games in Dayton, Ohio. The Bruins posted just a 2-8 record against teams in the RPI top 50 and a 5-10 mark against teams in the top 100. The team's lone noteworthy win came against then-No. 11 Utah Jan. 29. UCLA did step up its play significantly at the end of the season, making it to the Pac 12 semifinals, where it took Arizona to the wire before falling 70-64.

Experienced teams win in March, and a big part of the Bruins' recent success is the play of senior guard Norman Powell (16.4 PPG, 1.9 SPG). Coach's son Bryce Alford (15.1 PPG, 36.6% 3FG) is not afraid to let it fly from behind the arc and attempts 6.5 3-pointers per game. Freshman forward Kevon Looney (11.8 PPG, 9.2 RPG) can be a difference-maker down low.

How they make a run: Powell plays like a senior in his team's biggest games of the year and UCLA continues its recent hot streak while proving the skeptics wrong.

How they falter: Woes from the free-throw line—the Bruins shoot 67.6 percent as a team—late in games come back to haunt upset-minded UCLA.


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