Analyst Breaks Down Two Areas UCLA Bruins Need to Focus on to Upset Gonzaga Bulldogs

Published 03/31/2021, 11:48 AM EDT
Mar 30, 2021; Indianapolis, IN, USA; The UCLA Bruins celebrate after beating the Michigan Wolverines in the Elite Eight of the 2021 NCAA Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports


The UCLA Bruins are one of few Cinderella stories of this year’s March Madness that have actually made it to the Final Four. While we had a whole host of upsets in the first two rounds, the order of the tournament was restored by most of the favorites. However, the Bruins pulled off a massive upset against the #1 seeded Michigan Wolverines.

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They are staring down the gauntlet for a matchup against the Gonzaga Bulldogs to cement their place in the Championship game. ESPN Analyst Seth Greenberg has some areas that he feels the Bruins could exploit to be the first team to beat Gonzaga this season.

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“You gotta own the pace of the game. This Gonzaga team plays the third-fastest offense in college basketball, a shot every 14 seconds. UCLA? They play the 390th fastest pace. So if you control the tempo of the game.

“How do you do that? Shot selection. You gotta take good shots because your defensive transition is related to your shot selection. Number two, you’ve gotta take care of the basketball and not turn it over. UCLA turns it over 15% of their possessions. Those two areas will be key.”

UCLA Bruins: Can the Bruins actually upset the Bulldogs?

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The UCLA Bruins have one of the most famous victories in March Madness history. That came against Gonzaga in 2006, as the Bruins edged out the Bulldogs with a clutch play with less than ten seconds on the clock. The Bruins completed a comeback and took their first lead of the game with 8.6 seconds left.

Mar 30, 2021; Indianapolis, IN, USA; UCLA Bruins guard Jaime Jaquez Jr. (4) pose for a picture after the UCLA Bruins beat the Michigan Wolverines in the Elite Eight of the 2021 NCAA Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

That Gonzaga team was feared but saw their tournament run end in the Sweet Sixteen. However, this Bulldogs team is surpassing historic standards. They are looking to become the first team in almost 50 years to be undefeated champions. The low-seeded Bruins may not be a match for them.

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There is a reason Gonzaga is on a 27-game streak of double-digit wins. They are just that much better than the field this year. It seems the Bruins have a tall task ahead of them. Beating Michigan was hard, but beating Gonzaga may be impossible. But anything can happen in March Madness.

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Ishaan Bhattacharya

1510 articles

Ishaan Bhattacharya is an NBA, NCAA Basketball, and Combat Sports writer at EssentiallySports. Currently, Ishaan is pursuing a Post Graduate Degree in Journalism from Xavier's Institute of Communication. Previously, Ishaan has written for The Indian Express, The Quint, Sportskeeda, and WrestleClub.

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