What to watch for
HISTORY: Twenty years ago, 12th-seeded Tulsa upset fifth-seeded UCLA 112-102 in the first round and made it to the regional semifinals before losing to eventual national champion Arkansas. The Bruins won the national championship the following season, saved in the second round by Tyus Edney’s coast-to-coast dash for a layup at the buzzer in a 75-74 win against Missouri. Edney is in his fourth season on UCLA’s staff.
MISMATCH: The Bruins will enjoy a decided size advantage, with 6-foot-10 twins David and Travis Wear, and 6-9 Kyle Anderson. All three weigh 230 pounds. Tulsa starts a three-guard lineup, with a frontcourt of 6-7 Rashad Smith and 6-9, 247-pound D’Andre Wright
OPENING-GAME BLUES: Alford has been one-and-done three times in his six NCAA tournament appearances as a Division I coach, including last year when his third-seeded New Mexico Lobos were upset by 14th-seeded Harvard. “A lot of people talk about hitting a re-set button and you do in a way, from your scouting and those types of things,” Alford said. “As a player you get the freshness of playing somebody else, but so does your opponent, and that’s why it’s scary.”
NOT THE BRUIN WAY: UCLA has just two wins in the NCAA tournament since 2009, which is why Ben Howland was fired last March and replaced with Alford. “We’re laying a foundation,” Alford said. “I think that’s what year one is about. ... You’re not at UCLA if it’s not important to advance in the NCAA tournament.”
TULSA TIME: The Golden Hurricane is making its 15th appearance in the NCAA tournament, and first since 2003, when it beat Dayton before losing to Wisconsin. Its record is 12-14. It has reached the Sweet Sixteen three times and Elite Eight once. UCLA, of course, has more national championships than any other school, 11, and is 100-38 overall.