The Daily Dish: UCLA should be worried about where it’ll play in the NCAA tournament, not its seeding

Over the weekend, the NCAA released a list of the top 16 players in the NCAA Tournament this year. Clearly UCLA Mick Cronin didn’t like those predictions too much after seeing where the Bruins would rank.

The Cronina Bruins currently lead the Pac-12 with a 14-2 conference record (23-4 overall). In addition, they are ranked 4th in the nationwide AP poll, 4th in the NET rankings, and 3rd on However, UCLA received only eighth overall in the bracket preview and is predicted to be the #2 seed in the East.

Cronin drew attention to himself when he called the crop “ridiculous.” He then went one step further, claiming that the seeding was some sort of punishment for UCLA leaving the Pac-12.

“When we dropped the Pac-12 it cost a lot of people millions of dollars and there had to be repercussions and I think that’s a direct result,” Cronin said after UCLA’s lopsided win on Saturday. “I have nothing to do with us leaving the league, but you deal with the consequences as a lame duck.”

Obviously, Cronin thinks the Bruins should be seeded higher. Also, he’s probably outraged by the fact that Arizona, which trails UCLA in the AP (7), NET (11), Kenpom (9) poll and is two games behind them in the Pac- 12, is predicted to be in the Western region ranked sixth overall.

For the sake of objectivity, let’s put aside the idea that UCLA’s proposed seeding is rooted in its leaving Pac-12. The real question is, does Cronin have a legitimate claim regarding his team’s seeding?

The answer to this is a bit vague. The vision test tells me that UCLA should be seeded a little higher. I’m not sure I’d seed them higher than any of the top four seeds – Alabama, Houston, Purdue, and Kansas – but I’d put them in the top five. However, seeding is a complaint that won’t be specific to UCLA.

So instead, let’s focus on the bigger picture. In my humble opinion, the Bruins should care more about getting to the West than whether they are the #1 or #2 seed.

No Pac-12 (or West Coast) team has won a national championship since Arizona did in 1997. But if any team has a chance to break this streak, it’s this year’s UCLA team. The Bruins have an absolute warrior and a stallion in the senior wing Jaime Jaques. junior wing Jaylen Clark is one of the best two-way players in the country, and he’s the best in the country. Campbell Fabrics gives them stability on point while five-star freshmen Amari Bailey And Adem Bona – I’m Not Afraid (Official Music Video) come at the right time. I have no doubt that the Bruins are strong enough to succeed in the NCAA Tournament.

On the other hand, despite the high poll and computer ratings, the Bruins have obvious flaws, especially when it comes to winning.

UCLA does not have a single win against any team currently in the top 25 of the AP Poll. The Bruins lost their first meeting with Arizona. And according to KenPom’s rankings, their best win of the year came back in December when they beat Maryland. Aside from a season-ending home game against Arizona, their remaining schedule (in Utah, Colorado, and a home game against Arizona State) does little to improve their resume.

As a result, UCLA will need all the help it can get if it wants to end the cold West Coast streak and win a national championship. A touchdown in the West Region of the NCAA tournament would give the Bruins a much-needed edge. Being seed #1 or seed #2 probably won’t make much of a difference. But the prospect of playing in Las Vegas is much more ideal than being sent to Louisville, Kansas City, or their current intended destination, New York.

The solution is pretty simple too. The Bruins should end the season on a high note by avenging their loss to Arizona. This will surely lift them up in the rankings. They may not get the coveted seed #1, but it will give them the opportunity to be in the Western region. This will keep the Bruins close to home and in familiar territory as they try to overcome their Achilles’ heel by winning big games.

The Daily Dish is a daily college basketball column that is constantly updated by 247Sports journalists covering the day’s biggest events in the sport and will run through the NCAA Tournament in April.


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