UCLA Projected as No. 2 Seed in NCAA Tournament Bracket Preview

The in-season top 16 was revealed Saturday on CBS, and the committee has the Bruins in contention for a top seed in the East.

With three weeks left until the official bracket is released, the Bruins have found out where they stand on the national stage.

The NCAA tournament selection committee unveiled its top 16 teams Saturday on CBS, and UCLA men’s basketball (22-4, 13-2 Pac-12) came in as the No. 2 seed in the East. The Bruins are in line to be the No. 8 overall team in the field if the season were to end today, but they have until March 12 to change their fate.

UCLA currently ranks No. 6 in Strength of Record, No. 4 in the AP Poll, No. 4 in the USA Today Coaches Poll, No. 4 in the NET, No. 4 in the T-Rank, No. 4 in the BPI, No. 4 in the Simple Rating System and No. 3 in the KenPom. The Bruins rank No. 24 in adjusted offensive efficiency and No. 2 in adjusted defensive efficiency.

Outside of their 4-4 record against Quad 1 teams, UCLA is 7-0 against Quad 2, 7-0 against Quad 3 and 4-0 against Quad 4. The Bruins have not defeated many teams projected to make the tournament, however.

Despite being the Pac-12’s highest-ranking team in virtually every metric and poll, UCLA is not the conference’s top team, according to the committee. Arizona is also a No. 2 seed, but at No. 6 overall, owning the head-to-head over the Bruins for the time being.

Purdue is the No. 1 seed in the East above UCLA, while Iowa State is the region’s No. 3 seed and Marquette is the No. 4 seed. Alabama, Houston and Kansas are the other No. 1 seeds, while Texas and Baylor make up the rest of the No. 2 seed line.

Starting in 2017, the committee started sharing its thoughts on the top quarter of the field a few weeks out from the final selection show. 

Last season, three of the four in-season No. 1 seeds wound up as No. 1 seeds when Selection Sunday came around, while the other fell to the No. 2 seed line. Baylor was a No. 2 seed three weeks before the official bracket reveal last year, and they moved up to a No. 1 seed by the end of the regular season.

UCLA was a No. 4 seed during the in-season reveal in 2022, and that’s exactly where they ended up for the NCAA tournament. Before that, the last time the Bruins were part of the in-season top 16 was in 2017, when they moved up from a No. 4 seed to a No. 3 seed.

In both instances, UCLA’s campaign ended in the Sweet 16.

The last time the Bruins were one of the top-eight teams in the field was in 2008, when they were a No. 1 seed. The Bruins made three-straight Final Fours from 2006 to 2008, and they were a top-eight seed in each of those tournaments.

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