This post was updated March 14 at 11:53 p.m.
The Bruins will be staying west for the Big Dance – but they won’t be the top dogs in their region.
UCLA men’s basketball (29-5, 18-2 Pac-12) earned a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament’s West Region, as announced Sunday afternoon on CBS’ NCAA Tournament Selection Show. The blue and gold will take on No. 15 seed UNC Asheville in the Round of 64 on Thursday in Sacramento.
Senior guard/forward Jaime Jaquez Jr. said staying on the West Coast was more important to the team than being a No. 1 seed.
“We tried to get in the West,” Jaquez said. “So we’re excited that we got in the West.”
The No. 2 seed is still the highest the Bruins have been ranked entering the tournament since 2008, when they were a No. 1 seed.
UCLA was projected as a potential No. 1 seed for most of the past month but dropped to the No. 2 seed line after losing to Arizona in the Pac-12 tournament championship game Saturday.
Coach Mick Cronin said he is not worried about the seed, noting that the Bruins were a No. 11 seed in 2021 when they made the Final Four.
“We’re well aware that it’s only a number,” Cronin said.
Kansas, Alabama, Houston and Purdue all beat out UCLA for a No. 1 seed, with the Jayhawks joining the Bruins in the West Region as the top team in the quadrant.
Should UCLA advance, it will also play in the Round of 32 in Sacramento before the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight in Las Vegas. The Final Four will be held in Houston.
The first- and second-round games in Sacramento will mark the first time UCLA has played an NCAA Tournament game in the state of California since 2017, when the Bruins also played in the state’s capital.
“It’s very special for us and our families to get out and come see us in Sacramento,” said fifth-year guard David Singleton. “So we were obviously happy.”