NCAA tournament 2013: Harvard beat New Mexico? What 'Madness' might Friday bring?
One of those games will take place in the South region as sixth seed UCLA meets 11th seed Minnesota Friday night in Austin, Texas.
The Bruins have a championship pedigree (11 NCAA titles between 1964 and 1995) on their side. But they lost second-leading scorer Jordan Adams to injury in the Pac-12 conference tournament semifinal. UCLA can still compete with a pair of all-Pac-12 performers in guard Larry Drew II and freshman Shabazz Muhammad. They also feature twin six-foot 10-inch forwards Travis and David Wear.
Minnesota is led by head coach Tubby Smith, a man who took the University of Kentucky to an NCAA title in 1998. The Golden Gophers have a balanced scoring attack, paced by guard Andre Hollins and forwards Rodney Williams and Trevor Mbakwe.
Minnesota has had its share of highs and lows this year, but Mbakwe believes a new season starts now against UCLA.
"We know we've played one of the toughest schedules, we've played the best teams, the Dukes and Indianas of the world. We know we can compete with them. We have to get back to playing that way and actually believing," Mbakwe told the Associated Press Tuesday.
Out in the West region, seventh-seed Notre Dame plays 10th seed Iowa State Friday night in Dayton, Ohio. Both schools reached the semifinal round in their respective league post-season tournaments.