One way or another, a college basketball blueblood is going to be eliminated from the NCAA tournament next Friday.
While several other top programs were sent packing in the second round of the Big Dance, Kentucky and UCLA, who have combined for 34 Final Four appearances, calmly took care of business to set up a potentially epic Sweet 16 matchup.
Here’s a look at everything you need to know. We’ll update as more information is released.
Kentucky vs. UCLA, 2017 Sweet 16
Date: Friday, March 25, 2017
Location: FedEx Forum, Memphis, Tennessee
Start Time: Follows Butler-North Carolina, which starts at 7:09 p.m. ET. Kentucky-UCLA will likely be around 9:49 p.m. ET
TV Channel: CBS
Spread: Opened as a pick’em but is now at UCLA (-1), per OddsShark.com
If you need to know where any NBA scout in the entire world is going to be next weekend, you should probably check Memphis.
As is typically the case, John Calipari’s squad features a handful of future NBA players. The Wildcats’ starting backcourt, De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk, won’t likely make it past the end of the lottery next June, while Bam Adebayo is another potential first-round pick.
UCLA counters with Lonzo Ball, the engine that runs the second-most efficient offense in college basketball and a very likely top-three pick. T.J. Leaf and Ike Anigbogu also likely have NBA futures, while guys like Aaron Holiday–the younger brother of Jrue and Justin–and Thomas Welsh also have interesting futures.
Put it all together, and you have two thoroughly entertaining teams, two endlessly efficient offenses, and a whole lot of NBA talent. Oh, and it’s a rematch of one of the most entertaining games of the regular season.
UCLA beat Kentucky, 97-92, back in early December, and while both teams are significantly different then they were back then, you can expect this one to be another display of high-level basketball and copious amounts of baskets.
Even without the history–you know, with these being two of the most successful programs in college basketball history–this would be one of the most anticipated games of the season.