Blue bloods prepare to battle

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Two of only 15 teams ever to win the NCAA title more than once – the others are Kansas, Duke, Indiana, Connecticut, North Carolina, Louisville, North Carolina State, Michigan State, Oklahoma State, Villanova, Florida, San Francisco and Cincinnati – the Bruins and Wildcats come into the game as the third and second seeds respectively in the South Regional.

Potentially a bit harsh on UCLA, but at some point you have to play the top teams regardless in the NCAA Tournament.

The Bruins and the Wildcats met earlier in the year in a non-conference match-up at the Rupp Arena in Lexington.

All five starters were in double figures for the visitors in the 97-92 triumph, as UCLA shot 53 per cent from the floor and also ended Kentucky’s unbeaten home streak.

Curiously super freshman Lonzo Ball, expected to go in the top three in the NBA Draft, was not overly dominant in that game and the Wildcats will be aware that the Bruins are capable of even more.

Much will depend on the play of Malik Monk. The freshman scored 24 points in the loss to UCLA and will need to dominate again if Kentucky is to move on to the Elite Eight.

Over in the top half of the bracket the match-up of North Carolina and Butler is almost an afterthought.

The Bulldogs were a popular pick to be upset by Middle Tennessee in the Round of 32, but Butler saw off the challenge of the Blue Raiders.

The Tar Heels continue to look championship material and they will have the challenge of not overlooking Butler, while they consider the prospect of an Elite Eight game against either the Wildcats or the Bruins.

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Blue bloods prepare to battle
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The UCLA Bruins and Kentucky Wildcats meet on Friday in a classic match-up of top tier programs in the Sweet Sixteen.
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Best Bet News
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