The No. 4 UCLA Bruins defeated the Colorado Buffaloes in a 60-56 victory on Sunday to claim the outright Pac-12 regular season championship.
The win in Boulder, CO, capped off an excellent month of February for Mick Cronin’s crew, who went 8-0 during the month and gradually established separation from fellow league power Arizona. With the regular season crown secured, it begs the question if the Bruins will receive consideration for a one-seed in the NCAA Tournament.
UCLA has put together a superb resume throughout the campaign and it would not be a surprise if the selection committee places a No. 1 next to its name come tourney time. The Bruins are ranked fourth in NET rankings and boasts a 6-4 record against Quad 1 opponents and an 8-0 mark against Quad 2 foes. Going hand-in-hand with NET is their standing in KenPom metric, where they are currently ranked second overall in the nation with the second-ranked defense.
Despite this, UCLA has been tabbed as a No. 2 seed by most bracket experts in recent weeks as the team has found itself behind the likes of Alabama, Houston, Purdue, and Kansas for the top slots. That may be a case of the Bruins being slightly punished for playing in a weak Pac-12 that may only get three teams into the big dance in March. However, with Purdue’s recent struggles, they may very well replace the Boilermakers in the top four.
Of course, there’s still plenty of basketball to be played before Selection Sunday in two weeks. UCLA still has regular season showdowns with Arizona State and Arizona to look forward to before jumping right into the Pac-12 tournament. There’s a chance for the Bruins to play themselves either in or out of a No. 1 seed, but for now, they’re looking good.