NCAA bracket knowledgeable: UCLA should win Pac-12 tourney for No. 1 seed

Ten consecutive wins and a runaway Pac-12 regular-season championship have vaulted UCLA right into a No. 1 seed in scores of projected NCAA event brackets.

It might not be sufficient to maintain the Bruins there.

ESPN’s Joe Lunardi, one of many nation’s foremost bracket consultants, advised the Los Angeles Times on Monday that UCLA wanted to win the Pac-12 event to safe a No. 1 seed on Selection Sunday.

According to Lunardi, the Bruins are jockeying with Purdue, Texas and Baylor for the ultimate No. 1 seed behind Houston, Kansas and Alabama. Bracket Matrix, which tracks scores of projected brackets, confirmed UCLA as No. 1 seed in 35 of 85 brackets as of Monday.

Lunardi mentioned he elevated UCLA to a No. 1 seed within the West Region in his newest bracket primarily based on its cumulative physique of labor and powerful end to the common season mixed with Purdue’s having misplaced 4 of its final eight video games.

UCLA additionally rose to No. 2 within the Associated Press ballot Monday, trailing solely Houston. It’s the very best rating for the Bruins (27-4) this late in a season since they had been No. 2 within the coaches’ ballot on March 17, 2008.

But the Bruins might lose out on a No. 1 seed in the event that they stumble within the Pac-12 event and the opposite challengers have a greater displaying of their respective convention tournaments.

“If Texas or Baylor win the Big 12 tournament,” Lunardi mentioned, “they would have an equal or greater resume to pass them.”

Lunardi mentioned it could be unattainable for any crew to win the Big 12 event with out logging three Quad 1 wins, that are in opposition to prime groups and extremely valued by the choice committee.

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There’s additionally the chance that UCLA might get shipped out of the West if it doesn’t get a No. 1 seed if 4 Big 12 groups safe No. 1 or No. 2 seeds. In that state of affairs, with Kansas taking the No. 1 seed within the Midwest, a No. 2 seed from the Big 12 could be despatched to the West due to bracketing ideas meant to maintain prime groups from the identical convention out of the identical area.

UCLA coach Mick Cronin directs his gamers throughout a win over Arizona on Saturday.

(Ringo H.W. Chiu / Associated Press)

Is there a state of affairs wherein UCLA will get a No. 1 seed and isn’t within the West? Why, sure. Lunardi mentioned if UCLA is fourth on the highest seed record and Houston is third, the Cougars might find yourself in Las Vegas as a result of it’s geographically nearer than New York.

Lunardi mentioned he hoped that widespread sense among the many choice committee would prevail in that state of affairs over the letter of bracketing ideas.

“I think someone in the room will have to say, well, 100 extra miles for Houston doesn’t matter when they’re already traveling 1,500 miles, so why inconvenience two teams?” Lunardi mentioned. “But I’ve lost arguments of logic before doing this job.”

The doable absence of UCLA guard Jaylen Clark this week due to an unspecified harm suffered in opposition to Arizona might influence the Bruins’ seeding … or not.

“If they win the Pac-12 tournament without him, it won’t hurt them at all,” Lunardi mentioned of the Bruins, who had been outscored by two factors after Clark departed early within the second half final weekend. The committee “will be watching to see if UCLA still looks like UCLA.”

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