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 Patrick Smith/Getty Images) (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
    Tale Of The Tape: Baltimore Ravens At New Orleans Saints

    The Ravens are dependent on Joe Flacco to play his best football down the stretch if they are going to make a run at the AFC North title. Flacco is certainly capable of getting hot and putting big numbers up on the scoreboard.

  2. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images) (Photo by Michael Heiman/Getty Images)
    Tale Of The Tape: Dallas Cowboys At New York Giants

    The Cowboys have been one of the bigger surprises in the league this year, but their sharp start could go to waste if they can’t come through in games like this.

  3. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
    Tale Of The Tape: Washington Redskins At San Francisco 49ers

    The Redskins pulled off one of the most disappointing performances of the season as they were coming off a bye week and had the lowly Tampa Bay Bucs at FedEx Field and they couldn’t even stay close.

See All Tales of the Tape
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,211 other followers