When the UCLA Bruins began the year 2-4, including a home loss to Montana, the NCAA Tournament did not seem in their plans this season. Even though head coach Ben Howland averaged over 30 wins per season from 2006-2009, last year's 14-18 record left a bad taste in everyone's mouth. However, since then the Bruins are 20-5. They have a balanced scoring attack and a young team; their four players who average double figures in points are a freshman, two sophomores, and a junior.
Record: 22-9 (13-5 in Pac-10 play)
RPI: 31, per CBS Sports
Key wins: UCLA slaughtered the No. 10 Arizona Wildcats 71-49 on February 26 in the final game at Pauley Pavilion before scheduled renovations this summer. The Bruins beat then-No. 16 BYU 86-79 at the Wooden Classic in Anaheim on December 18. Jimmer Fredette scored 25 points, but hit just 2-of-8 three-point attempts, which felt like a big win against The Jimmer.
Key losses: On December 2 at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, UCLA dropped a heartbreaker to No. 4 Kansas, 77-76. Bruins guard Malcolm Lee was called for a questionable foul with 0.7 seconds left, lifting Kansas to their 64th straight home win.
Player(s) to watch: The Bruins had three players make All Pac-10 First Team. Junior guard Malcolm Lee was one of the trio, and also made the conference All Defensive Team. Lee has torn cartilage in his left knee, but isn't expected to miss any time in either the Pac-10 Tournament or NCAA Tournament. Sophomore forward Reeves Nelson leads the club in both scoring (14.2 ppg) and rebounding (8.9 rpg), while fellow sophomore forward Tyler Honeycutt led the conference in blocked shots.
Need a printable NCAA bracket to fill out for the tournament? Download SB Nation's March Madness Bracket.