Gonzaga vs. UCLA needs no real context for fans of this program to instantly have a gut reaction. Most of the time, it will involve hunching over and having to take a couple deep breaths. While Gonzaga won the two programs' most recent matchup, the looming contest obviously happened in 2006. As I woke up this morning, I flirted with the idea of getting all my thoughts out about that Sweet 16 game in Oakland. As a freshman at Gonzaga, I traveled down to that game with several buddies and saw it happen live. While I am in far too good of mood to tell that tale, it may happen at some point this week.
For now, let's discuss the present time. Here's the details on Gonzaga and UCLA's Sweet 16 matchup:
Date: Friday, March 27th
Time: 4:15pm pacific
Place: NRG Stadium in Houston, TX
Announcers: Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery, and Grant Hill
Current Line: Gonzaga by 9
The last meeting - Gonzaga takes down UCLA, 87-74
Kyle Wiltjer actually looked alot like he did last night against UCLA in their matchup this season in December. The forward scored 24 points on 9-13 shooiting. Fellow transfer Bryon Wesley added 20 points of his own as the Bulldogs dominated the Bruins on their home floor. Gonzaga shot 58.5% from the field on that day and held UCLA to 41.7% shooting.
It is a much different UCLA team
Obvious statement but it is very true. Since February 21st, UCLA has just lost two games - both of which to Arizona by a combined total of 16 points. During that time, they've won 6 games, including 2 tournament games against SMU and UAB. Their late stretch of improved play was a defining reason why they made it into the tournament as they were severely on the bubble and just made it in the field. They've used the angst from the decision to fuel them forward and are now looking to work their way into the Final 4.