UCLA Men’s Basketball March Madness Bracketology Roundup: Feb. 28

Compiling NCAA tournament projections for the Bruins from ESPN, CBS, Sports Illustrated and other top sources.

Now that the Bruins have clinched the Pac-12 regular season title, not much time remains before the conference and NCAA tournaments.

No. 4 UCLA men’s basketball (25-4, 16-2 Pac-12) locked up the conference crown with sweep against Colorado and Utah, ultimately adding three Quad 1 wins over the course of the week. With previous No. 1 seed lock Purdue losing yet another game, the blue and gold have started to surge again toward a top seed in the West.

No matter what goes down in the upcoming weeks, UCLA has guaranteed a spot in the field. However, the Bruins will have to likely win out if they want to solidify a top-four overall seed.

Here is where UCLA could land in the bracket, according to experts across the internet.

ESPN – Joe Lunardi
West Region

No. 1 Kansas (Automatic Qualifier)
No. 16 TAMU-CC (Automatic Qualifier)

No. 8 Missouri
No. 9 Rutgers

No. 5 Saint Mary’s (Automatic Qualifier)
No. 12 VCU (Automatic Qualifier)

No. 4 Virginia
No. 13 Hofstra (Automatic Qualifier)

No. 6 Iowa State
No. 11 Auburn

No. 3 Gonzaga
No. 14 UC Toledo (Automatic Qualifier)

No. 7 Maryland
No. 10 West Virginia

No. 2 UCLA (Automatic Qualifier)
No. 15 Youngstown St. (Automatic Qualifier)

Pac-12 (4): No. 2 UCLA, No. 3 Arizona, No. 10 USC, No. 11 Arizona State

UCLA would be the No. 2 seed in the West – coach Mick Cronin’s preferred situation if not for a No. 1 seed – in this projection. Kansas could be the ultimate obstacle in the region, although other foes with head-to-head history could stand in the way.

The Bruins have faced Eastern Washington once in program history – a win at Pauley Pavilion in 2007 when then-freshman forward Kevin Love scored 21 points in his second collegiate game. If UCLA were to advance to the Sweet 16, Gonzaga could be the test once again. The Bruins fell to the Bulldogs in the 2021 Final Four, as well as in the 2021-22 regular season.

Saint Mary’s and Maryland are both programs that UCLA has had recent success against, defeating the Gaels in the 2022 Round of 32 and the Terrapins back in December.

Throughout the rest of the region, UCLA has a recent loss to Hofstra, which came in year one of Cronin’s reign in Westwood. The Bruins could come full circle in year four if the Pride were to become NCAA tournament foes.

CBS Sports – Jerry Palm
West Region

No. 1 Purdue
No. 16 Texas A&M CC/Howard

No. 8 Iowa State
No. 9 Pittsburgh

No. 5 Miami
No. 12 Oral Roberts

No. 4 Xavier
No. 13 Yale

No. 6 Missouri
No. 11 Boise State

No. 3 Baylor
No. 14 Kennesaw St.

No. 7 Texas A&M
No. 10 FAU

No. 2 UCLA
No. 15 Vermont

Pac-12 (3): No. 2 UCLA, No. 3 Arizona, No. 10 USC, Arizona State (First Four Out)

Purdue and 7-foot-4 center Zach Edey are the No. 1 seed in this projection, leaving UCLA in the bottom half of the region.

The last time the Bruins faced off against Vermont – their projected first-round foes – was coach Ben Howland’s first game with UCLA. The blue and gold won by a score of 68-67.

UCLA dropped a non-conference contest to Baylor in December and could seek revenge should their possible Sweet 16 matchup come to fruition.

Xavier has double the history attached to UCLA and coach Mick Cronin. At Cincinnati, Xavier was the Bearcats’ main rival and Cronin could still hold a grudge against a program he has coached against tenfold. Additionally, former Arizona coach Sean Miller is in charge of the Musketeers’ program now and could relish a chance to upset the Bruins.

USA Today – Eddie Timanus, Paul Myerberg and Erick Smith
West Region

No. 1 UCLA (Automatic Qualifier)
No. 16 Texas A&M CC (Automatic Qualifier)

No. 8 Duke
No. 9 Rutgers

No. 5 Xavier
No. 12 Auburn/Oklahoma St.

No. 4 Indiana
No. 13 Utah Valley (Automatic Qualifier)

No. 3 Gonzaga (Automatic Qualifier)
No. 14 Hofstra (Automatic Qualifier)

No. 6 Creighton
No. 11 Mississippi State

No. 7 Pittsburgh (Automatic Qualifier)
No. 10 West Virginia

No. 2 Purdue (Automatic Qualifier)
No. 15 Vermont (Automatic Qualifier)

Pac-12 (3): No. 1 UCLA, No. 3 Arizona, No. 11 USC, Arizona State (First Four Out)

As the only projection that has UCLA as a No. 1 seed, the Bruins would have had to end their season cleanly in order to face a No. 16 seed like Texas A&M CC in round one. Bob Huggins’ West Virginia could await in the second round, setting Cronin up for another showdown with a coach he served under in the past.

Duke – in its first season without coach Mike Krzyzewski – would provide a blue-blood challenge for UCLA in round two of the NCAA tournament.

Gonzaga could be one of UCLA’s Elite 8 possibilities should the Bulldogs and Bruins advance past the Sweet 16. Hofstra, if they were to complete multiple upsets in March could seek to defeat UCLA twice in the past five years.

In the rest of the bracket, Xavier and Rutgers have links to the Bruins, with Sean Miller as the head of the former and recent UCLA alumnus Myles Johnson completing his undergraduate degree at the latter.

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