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UCLA Headlines Exciting Sweet 16 Matchup Versus Gonzaga

Steve Cheng

Tomorrow, the NCAA Men's Division 1 College Basketball Tournament known as March Madness resumes with teams facing off in the Sweet 16. For Southern California fans, UCLA will look to continue their run in a matchup against Gonzaga, a game that should live up to it's high expectations.

The last time these two teams met was in the final four of 2021. The No.11 seed Bruins stayed afloat with the No.1 seed Bulldogs for the better portion of the game. Until the final few possessions where Gonzaga proved they were the better team when it mattered most, advancing with a 93-90 win and a trip to the national championship.

Two years later, the Bulldogs are on the outside looking in, entering the tournament as the No.3 seed and facing a No.2 Bruins squad who by many is a popular pick to win it all.

Nonetheless, the Bulldogs are still as formidable as anyone in the tournament and with a couple injuries plaguing UCLA, let's get a closer glance on the matchup between the powerhouse programs.

The story surrounding UCLA as they prepare for Gonzaga revolves around the Bruins two starting players David Singleton and Adem Bona. In the final minute of the team's second round win over Northwestern, Singleton suffered a sprained right ankle.

For Bona, he has been dealing with a shoulder injury since the teams matchup with Oregon in thePac-12 tournament. Against Northwestern, the UCLA big man re-aggravated the injury, forcing him to leave the game before shortly returning to make a crucial block that led to Singleton hitting a clutch three pointer with under two minutes left.

Both guys are considered day to day according to head coach Mike Cronin, but in multiple videos captured after the game, Singleton is seen walking to the bus clearly moving in good spirits with no visible signs of an injury.

When asked about two of his top players heading into the heavyweight draw, Cronin reiterated a next man up approach.

“No time to cry,” he said.“There’s always a way to win a game, so we’ve got to make sure we’re preparing to find a way to win no matter who plays or doesn’t play.”

If one or both players are unable to play, it could spell problems for a Bruins defense that has the assignment of containing Bulldogs big man Drew Timme. Timme, who is a national-player-of-the-year candidate and playing his final season for the program, continues to be the centerpiece of a Mark Few led offense that is electric and dominant year in and year out.

With an unorthodox playing style and knack for drawing fouls, Timme's experience in the tournament will certainly be a handful for the Bruins squad regardless of Singleton and Bona's status.

For the Bruins, leading scorer Jaime Jacquez Jr. will likely lead the way and play a big role in the teams chances to advance in the tournament. The Sweet 16 is set to kick off tomorrow and fans can watch the Bruins potentially punch their ticket into the elite eight at 6:45.

Dean is a graduate of Loyola Marymount University and majored in Broadcast Journalism. He is an avid sports fan and his favorite teams are the Milwaukee Bucks and Cincinnati Bengals. On his free time, Dean loves spending time with his four siblings and helping out at his family owned business called Donut Town Highland. Dean hopes to become a sports agent and represent some of his favorite athletes.