TALE OF THE TAPE

NCAA Tournament First Round: #6 UCLA Vs. #11 Minnesota

#6 UCLA
#11 Minnesota
Oregon v UCLA - Pac-12 Championship
Big Ten Basketball Tournament - First Round
Coaching
Winner Ben Howland has a distinguished career, highlighted by three trips to the Final Four, but his status is up in the air at UCLA, as athletic director Dan Guerrero has given him no public assurances.
Tubby Smith had a national championship on his belt before being unceremoniously run out of town in Kentucky. This looked to be his most promising season with Minnesota, but the Golden Gophers have been sliding.
Offense
Winner Once known for the Big East, ground-and-pound sort of attack, Howland switched things up and went more showtime. Shabazz Muhammad and Jordan Adams combined brilliantly for more than 30 points a game, but now that Adams has a broken foot, the attack is more limited.
The Golden Gophers thrive on bullying their way through a half-court game, which can be punishing for opponents but still a little feeble from an offensive standpoint. Minnesota ranked 149th in points per game.
Defense
Once a Howland staple, the Bruins have slipped some on defense since their deep tournament runs a few years ago. While it still hasn’t reached lockdown mode, UCLA’s team defense has improved considerably after late February.
Winner All year long, Minnesota has guarded the rim and the perimeter with sound rotations and efficiency. Opponents have managed just 61.7 points per game against the Gophers.
Bench Depth
The loss of Adams really hurt UCLA’s depth chart, now that bench stalwart Norman Powell has to fill in with starter’s minutes. David Wear has been dependable for them in a sixth-man type role.
Winner Depth is clearly one of Minnesota’s strong suits. Lately, the Gophers have been running nine deep, getting significant contributions from Maverick Ahanmisi, Elliott Eliason, Joe Coleman and the other Hollins – Andre.

We'll Just Call it a Tie

Oregon v UCLA - Pac-12 Championship Big Ten Basketball Tournament - First Round

UCLA. Minnesota has the weapons to dance for a while, but entering the tournament after losing seven of their last 10 games is a worrisome sign – something UCLA’s higher-octane offense should capitalize on.

MORE TALES OF THE TAPE

  1. (credit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images) (credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
    Who Will The Timberwolves Pick, Towns Or Okafor?

    The NBA Draft is Thursday night, where the dream of many young basketball players of becoming a professional athlete will become a reality for many. The Minnesota Timberwolves have a huge decision to make.

  2. (credit: Elsa/Getty Images) (credit: Elsa/Getty Images)
    Who Plays For The Twins First: Buxton Or Sano?

    Not only are the Twins leading the American League Central Division, they’ve also got two of the most highly-regarded prospects in the minor leagues. Fans and media alike want to see Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano in Twins uniforms at Target Field. But they’re currently in Class AA and both missed most of last year with injuries.

  3. Credit: Harry How/Getty Images Credit: Walt Disney Studios
    Who Would Win: Anaheim Ducks vs. The Mighty Ducks

    Emilio Estevez showed his support for the Ducks last night. That got us thinking, who would win between The Mighty Ducks and the Anaheim Ducks.

See All Tales of the Tape