UCLA Bruins (31-3) vs. Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils (17-15)
When: Thursday, 9:40 p.m.
1. "Well, Jack Likes It." Remember when Dukie V and the state of Tennessee blew their collective load when "big time celebrities" Peyton Manning and Priscila Presley showed up at the Memphis-Tennessee game? Yawn. As the greatest basketball program in NCAA history, situated in the heart of LA between Beverly Hills and Bel Air, it's commonplace for celebs to catch a game at Pauley. It's nice, but we could really care less. However, I'll gladly admit that we were a little star-struck in the Pac-10 Clincher vs Stanford. After Russell Westbrook's offensive rebound and score with 49 seconds to go in the 2nd half, the camera cut to Jack Nicholson enthusiastically throwing out 13 fist-pumps in celebration of the Bruin comeback. Jack doesn't mess around, kids. He only shows up for the best. UCLA is as good as it gets!
2. 57 North - 10 East. UCLA has a pretty simple path this year to our 12th banner. Just like the last two years, we will again have ridiculous home court advantage in the Anaheim and Phoenix regionals. And ever since the Kingdome blew up, San Antonio is as West as it gets for the final 4. Bruin fans have been booking their flights to SAT ever since Kevin Love picked up his UCLA hat in July 2006.
3. K Love and Russell Youtube. All of UCLA's players are awesome. That being said, these two guys have just been ridiculous this year. Love's All-American low post domination and Westbrook's consistent teabagging of opposing defenders have earned them a special place in the hearts of every UCLA fan. — Trevor Gribble
MISSISSIPPI VALLEY STATE DELTA DEVILS
1. Nine in a Row. The Delta Devils haven't lost a March game this season. In fact, they were sporting a dreadful 8-15 record on February 16, and they have won every game since to get to 17-15. Their overall record didn't get above .500 until their SWAC semifinal win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
2. A Head Slap for Old Times Sake. MVSU produced two of the greatest football players ever. Deacon Jones invented the term "sack" to describe the crippling hits he laid on opposing NFL quarterbacks as an old-school Ram, Charger, and Redskin. Jerry Rice was a legendary workout warrior who amassed over 22,000 receiving yards and 200 touchdowns in the NFL. He ended up at Valley because then-head man Archie Cooley was the only coach to pay Rice a recruiting visit.
3. Stanford is in the Tournament. Duh. They've been an at-large lock for weeks. But the first Stanford to officially make this year's Dance was Valley Senior Stanford Speech. With Chief Kickingstallionsims knocked out in the SWAC semis, Stanford will have to carry the all-name honors for the conference. Also on the MVSU roster: Andrew Jackson. Not the dude on the $20 bill, but the seldom-used 6'1" Freshman Forward Andrew Jackson. — Storming The Floor