UCLA vs Gonzaga feels like one of those match ups that just keeps popping up during March Madness. And on Thursday, the two will look to add to their exciting and storied rivalry.
The Bulldogs are not the powerhouse that they have been in recent years. They struggle in certain areas and had one of their more disappointing regular seasons, but Gonzaga is battle tested, especially in March.
UCLA and Gonzaga Will Add To Their Storied History
UCLA will have their hands full, but the Bruins have lost just three times since before Thanksgiving, including a two-point heartbreaker against Arizona. Their leader is guard Jaime Jaquez Jr., who the Bulldogs will have to find an answer for should they want to stay in the game.
Will the contest live up to the previous billings between the two schools? It would be difficult to match.
March 23, 2006: UCLA comes back from 9-points down in the final minutes to shock Gonzaga in the #NCAATournament Sweet 16, leaving Adam Morrison in tears.
Gus Johnson on the call.#MarchMadness pic.twitter.com/iPWLQofX6O
— This Day In Sports Clips (@TDISportsClips) March 23, 2022
One of the most memorable and iconic images in March Madness history came from UCLA’s matchup with Gonzaga in the Sweet 16 in 2006. The Bruins trailed by 17 points in the first half, but managed to score the final 11 of the game to mount an incredible comeback victory. Adam Morrison’s tears are shown every year at some point during the tournament, and surely will again on Thursday.
Can This Year’s Matchup Live Up To The Hype?
The two sides have met a few times since, mostly in the non-conference portion of the regular season. They saw each other once again during the NCAA Tournament in 2015, though there were far fewer fireworks in that one.
But they 2021 came, and Gonzaga was working on a perfect season when they met up with UCLA yet again, this time in the Final Four.
Jalen Suggs' all-time game-winner against UCLA called by Gonzaga's IMG radio team of Tom Hudson and Adam Morrison (yes, that Adam Morrison): pic.twitter.com/DBtqdFjenL
— Brian Fonseca (@briannnnf) April 4, 2021
The game was an overtime classic, which was capped off by a buzzer beater by Jalen Suggs from just inside half court. The Bruins had scored to tie the game just seconds earlier, but Suggs launched a prayer that was answered to keep Gonzaga’s magical season alive. You can bet that there will be clips of that shown during the broadcast as well.
The game will be played at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Thursday Night. The winner will face the winner of the contest between Arkansas and UConn to see who goes to the Final Four.
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