Following a disappointing loss in the Pac-12 title game, the UCLA Bruins will look to bounce back in their NCAA Tournament opener on Friday against the Minnesota Golden Gophers. The Bruins are the No. 6 seed in the South Region, while the Golden Gophers are seeded No. 11 in the region.
For UCLA to get the victory, it will need a strong performance from leading scorer Shabazz Muhammad, who averaged 17.8 points per game this past season. And on Friday Muhammad will need to take on an even larger role for the Bruins, who will be without their second-leading scorer Jordan Adams. Adams was lost for the season with a foot injury sustained during the Pac-12 Tournament.
Meanwhile, for Minnesota to pull the upset, the Golden Gophers will need strong interior play from forwards Trevor Mbakwe and Rodney Williams. The pair averaged nearly 14 rebounds per game this season, and teamed with guards Andre Hollins and Austin Hollins (who combined for 24.5 points per game this season) give Minnesota a tough inside-outside combination for UCLA to deal with.
The winner of this game will next take on the winner of the South's No. 3 vs. No. 14 match-up between Florida and Northwestern State.
Game time, TV: 9:57 p.m. ET, TruTV
Location: Frank Erwin Events Center, Austin, Texas