UCLA beefs up non-conference schedule

Tantalizing contests featuring Kentucky, Ohio State, and Michigan will dominate pre-holiday slate

What a delight for true college basketball fans.  According to CBSSports.com this past Friday (May 13), UCLA announced there will be a home-and-home series with Michigan.  The first matchup will be on Saturday, December 10 at Pauley Pavilion (more than likely will air on CBS), and in December 2017–expect Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh to get fully amped up with the rest of the crowd inside Crisler Arena in Ann Arbor.

Certainly, we can expect some great anticipation as the current crop of Bruins await their turn in looking to write another chapter with the school’s lavish and historic past:

“I have the utmost respect for Coach Beilein and what he’s been able to accomplish not just in his nine seasons with the Wolverines, but throughout his 38 years as a collegiate head coach. This will be a fantastic matchup for college basketball fans, given the opportunity to watch a pair of tradition-rich programs from two marquee conferences battle it out before league play. I know our players are already looking forward to the challenge.”

UCLA Head Coach Steve Alford, in a statement released via the school

These are the types of games the Bruins need to have a legitimate chance of not being passed over by the Division One Men’s Basketball Committee.  In other words, if they get off to one of their patented fast starts, there should be little doubt that their name will be mentioned come Selection Sunday 2017.

But that, as I usually say–is another topic for another day.  My fourth annual Season Preview will be released sometime in late October, just in case you are wondering.

Add to that other challenging games at Kentucky the week before on December 3 and participating once again in the third annual CBS Sports Classic on December 17 in Las Vegas against Ohio State (with Kentucky playing North Carolina in the other matchup), it might create some excellent early season drama.  Expect a topsy-turvy Pac 12 with the many graduations from key players affecting Utah, Stanford, and Washington in particular plus the usual ‘addition by subtraction’ with any transfers or academic/medical issues that might crop up the closer we get to the first week of classes in late August.

Both Michigan and UCLA have not met head-to-head since 2011, but this will be the first true “road game” since 2007–something that the Committee values very highly in ranking teams worthy of Tournament consideration.

And both schools did provide one rather excellent NCAA Tournament game in the pre-Internet era.  It was in the 1993 West Regional Second Round in Tucson, Arizona.  CBS showcased this game to most of the nation on a late Sunday afternoon as both the Bruins and Wolverines locked themselves into a tight, defensive struggle.

As a 9 seed this day, UCLA raced off to a 19 point lead during the first half and led by a hefty 13 point margin at the break.  But Steve Fisher’s bunch rallied back to make the game a classic, which as it turned out ended up going an extra five minutes.

As you will see during this final minute plus of the overtime period, two members of the “Fab Five” did really step up on this particular day.  Greg Gumbel and former veteran Notre Dame basketball coach Digger Phelps were on the call:

 

Hopefully, more exciting home-and-home matchups will be just as common as little surprises inside your Christmas stockings.  When I read more details that is considered blog worthy, you will read it here.

Please enjoy the rest of your day and thank you so much for reading and supporting my blog.

 

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