The UCLA game.

UCLA Bruins
Overall record: 27-5
Pac-10 record: 15-3 (plus 0-1 in conference tournament)
RPI: 2
Sagarin: 6
Series record: IU leads 6-5

IU and UCLA have a combined 16 NCAA titles. In the history of the NCAA Tournament, the only game that involved more combined championships was Kentucky's win over UCLA in the 1998 Sweet 16. Those two teams had 17 combined NCAA titles, although Kentucky would win its seventh a few days later. IU and UCLA last played in the West Regional final in Alberquerque in 1992, a game that IU won 106-79. IU and UCLA met in the first game of that season, in the Tipoff Classic in Springfield, Mass., and UCLA won 87-72. In that game, Bob Knight famously ended Chris Reynolds's red shirt season in the middle of the game. Reynolds began the game in streetclothes and ended it in uniform.

Of the 11 games between IU and UCLA, three have been in the NCAA Tournament (including the aforementioned 1992 game). UCLA defeated IU in the 1973 Final Four national semifinals, when UCLA was in the midst of its record 88-game winning streak and its long NCAA championship streak. IU returned the favor in the 1976 national semifinals as IU proceeded to its own undefeated national championship. Also, UCLA, led by future Pacer legend Reggie Miller, defeated IU in the 1985 NIT championship game.

Other than Ohio State, UCLA is IU's most formidable opponent of the season. Here is Ken Pomeroy's UCLA scouting report, and here's how UCLA's numbers compare to those of IU:

Efficiency
Pace
: Indiana 64 possessions per game (267/215); UCLA 64.3 (257/274)
Offensive efficiency: Indiana 1.105 points per possession (37/9); UCLA 1.116 (27/19)
Defensive efficiency: Indiana .967 points per possession (59/42) ;UCLA .928 (14/9)

Offense
Effective field goal percentage (extra credit for made three pointers): Indiana 52.4 (78); UCLA 54.2 (27)
Turnover percentage: Indiana 19.0 (61); UCLA 18.3 (34)
Offensive rebound percentage: Indiana 35.6 (91); UCLA 34.7 (130)


Defense
Effective field goal percentage: Indiana 46.7 (45); UCLA 47.8 (82)
Turnover percentage: Indiana 22.2 (101); UCLA 23.3 (51)
Offensive rebounding percentage: Indiana 32.5 (126); UCLA 29.9 (39)

What does this tell us? UCLA is statistically superior to IU in nearly every category and played a quality schedule. IU s better than Gonzaga by the numbers, but UCLA's status as the comfortable favorite is supported by these numbers. UCLA's top three scorers, Aaron Affalo, Josh Shipp, and Darren Collison are all threats from three point range. Affalo shoots 6.5 threes a game and makes about 38 percent.

This has been a promising season, and will remain so even if IU falls short tonight. A win, on the other hand, would put IU in a great position, would increase the buzz around Sampson's IU program as we approach the summer recruiting season, and would be a great start to the new era of IU basketball.

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