The UCLA Bruins basketball team made an unexpected appearance in the NCAA Tournament last season,after a lot of experts had them in the “First Four Out” before the brackets were announced. The Bruins hope to turn their luck around for next season and put together deep run in the tourney, but their non-conference schedule may just hurt their chances.
Then again, a tough non-conference schedule may be just what they need to erase the 2014-2015 season away from fans’ minds.
The Bruins announced their schedule on Monday afternoon.
UCLA starts the season hosting Monmouth, Cal Poly and Pepperdine, before heading to Hawaii to participate in the Maui Invitational. The field for the annual invitational this year includes Kansas, Indiana, UNLV and Vanderbilt.
That is certainly a tough schedule to start the season.
But you may be asking yourselves, “how does it get tougher?” Well, they open December at home against Kentucky and Long Beach State, certainly not a pushover mid-major. Then a trip to Gonzaga, a team which just missed going to the first Final Four last season.
Their non-conference schedule comes to a close when they travel cross-country to play UNC in the Barclays Center in New York.
UCLA has certainly not been the same team that went to three straight Final Fours from 2006-2008, but they could put their names back into relevancy with a few wins in this tough non-conference slate. Could we be seeing the rise of UCLA once again or did they just set themselves up for a long, grueling season?
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports