TALE OF THE TAPE

NCAA Tournament First Round: #6 UCLA Vs. #11 Minnesota

#6 UCLA
#11 Minnesota
Oregon v UCLA - Pac-12 Championship
Big Ten Basketball Tournament - First Round
Coaching
Winner Ben Howland has a distinguished career, highlighted by three trips to the Final Four, but his status is up in the air at UCLA, as athletic director Dan Guerrero has given him no public assurances.
Tubby Smith had a national championship on his belt before being unceremoniously run out of town in Kentucky. This looked to be his most promising season with Minnesota, but the Golden Gophers have been sliding.
Offense
Winner Once known for the Big East, ground-and-pound sort of attack, Howland switched things up and went more showtime. Shabazz Muhammad and Jordan Adams combined brilliantly for more than 30 points a game, but now that Adams has a broken foot, the attack is more limited.
The Golden Gophers thrive on bullying their way through a half-court game, which can be punishing for opponents but still a little feeble from an offensive standpoint. Minnesota ranked 149th in points per game.
Defense
Once a Howland staple, the Bruins have slipped some on defense since their deep tournament runs a few years ago. While it still hasn’t reached lockdown mode, UCLA’s team defense has improved considerably after late February.
Winner All year long, Minnesota has guarded the rim and the perimeter with sound rotations and efficiency. Opponents have managed just 61.7 points per game against the Gophers.
Bench Depth
The loss of Adams really hurt UCLA’s depth chart, now that bench stalwart Norman Powell has to fill in with starter’s minutes. David Wear has been dependable for them in a sixth-man type role.
Winner Depth is clearly one of Minnesota’s strong suits. Lately, the Gophers have been running nine deep, getting significant contributions from Maverick Ahanmisi, Elliott Eliason, Joe Coleman and the other Hollins – Andre.

We'll Just Call it a Tie

Oregon v UCLA - Pac-12 Championship Big Ten Basketball Tournament - First Round

UCLA. Minnesota has the weapons to dance for a while, but entering the tournament after losing seven of their last 10 games is a worrisome sign – something UCLA’s higher-octane offense should capitalize on.

MORE TALES OF THE TAPE

  1. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images) (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
    Tale Of The Tape: Washington Redskins At Dallas Cowboys

    This is a huge game on the Monday night stage, and head coach Jay Gruden would like to make a bold statement.

  2. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images) (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
    Tale Of The Tape: Green Bay Packers At New Orleans Saints

    The Packers may have struggled in the first three games of the season, but they have been rolling since then, and the main reason for that is the spectacular roll that Aaron Rodgers is on.

  3. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
    Tale Of The Tape: Oakland Raiders At Cleveland Browns

    The Raiders probably would have wanted the Browns to win in Week Seven at Jacksonville so they could have caught them playing with less than full intensity.

See All Tales of the Tape
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,162 other followers