Selection Sunday for the NCAA basketball tournament is set for March 12. And while several schools are jockeying for regional top seeds, there’s growing support for the Pac-12 champion UCLA Bruins to be named a #1 seed.
The Bruins finish strong
Fourth-ranked UCLA (27-4) wrapped up its regular season on Saturday night with an 82-73 win over Arizona. It was the Bruins 25th straight home victory and helped the senior class finish with a glossy 95-34 record. Although there are five seniors, only three of them see regular playing time. It’s the trio of Jaime Jaquez Jr., Tyger Campbell and David Singleton that has been the catalyst with Jaquez Jr. the leading candidate for Pac-12 Player of the Year honors.
UCLA tops Arizona on Senior Night; Jaylen Clark injured – Los Angeles Times https://t.co/9kqf1XgiRg
— eric sondheimer (@latsondheimer) March 5, 2023
Are politics in play?
The selection committee has been accused of having a regional bias and is ready to punish UCLA for leaving for the Big Ten. That punishment could come in the form of a lower seed and possible placement somewhere other than the West.
The Bruins have been steady while others have faltered
On Saturday, UCLA began the day fourth in net rating. Two of the three teams ahead of them lost, with both Alabama and Tennessee falling to lesser opponents.
Let’s take a look at some of the other teams vying for a #1 seed.
Purdue or Alabama as a #1?
The Boilermakers have lost four of their last seven games. One of those was a 14-point loss to Maryland, which lost to UCLA by 27.
Alabama has lost two of its last six. Its best player, Brandon Miller is in the middle of a murder investigation. Remember he brought the weapon to the scene of the January 15 shooting of Jamea Harris. Although he wasn’t and won’t be charged with a crime, does the NCAA really want to reward the Crimson Tide with a top-seed?
It’s doubtful you’ll get an argument from many basketball fans if you’ve got Houston and Kansas penciled in as #1 seeds. They’ve been solid all season.
UCLA has done its job, will the NCAA committee?
It’s obvious that the Bruins deserve a #1 seed in the tournament, no matter what happens in the Pac-12 tournament. Some might think it’s better for UCLA to be a No. 2 seed if it ensures that they stay in a West region that is being played in Las Vegas. We say they’ve earned both.