The No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the country are set to face off under the bright lights of Las Vegas, and alumni, broadcasters and fans are all excited for the high-stakes early-season matchup.
No. 2 UCLA men’s basketball (5-0) fell just short last April in a back-and-forth Final Four contest against Gonzaga (5-0), but Tuesday evening, bragging rights are all up for grabs once again. With a clean slate and fresh faces – or “Diaper Dandies”, as Dick Vitale would say – both the Bruins and Bulldogs have a chance to showcase themselves on primetime television Tuesday, as it would mark the second top-five win of the fall for either side.
When the top-ranked teams in the nation face-off, it is sure to generate some excitement for the contest. Journalists and fans alike have been hyping up the 7 p.m. contest to be at the same level of the March Madness battle.
College basketball color commentator Dick Vitale has not appeared on an ESPN broadcast yet this season because of ongoing treatment for Lymphoma, but when the 82-year-old received the go-ahead to broadcast UCLA vs. Gonzaga, the man himself and the internet got excited about his return. Tuesday, Vitale will commentate alongside play-by-play commentator Dave O’Brien for the first time in the 2021-2022 basketball campaign.
After Jalen Suggs sank a half-court buzzer-beater to take down the Bruins in Indianapolis last April, the scoreboard read 93-90. Now, fans in attendance and supporters back home are looking forward to possibly witnessing another high-scoring slugfest.
UCLA Athletic Director Martin Jarmond is in Sin City for the game, along with a strong contingent of students from the Den that made the trip out from Westwood for the week.
UCLA basketball alumni have been looking forward to this event as well, some of which talked with the Los Angeles Times about what the game means to them. Even former UCLA forward and current LSU big man Shareef O’Neal sent his well wishes to the Bruins before they take the court at T-Mobile Arena.
No matter how the action plays out, there are sure to be countless reactions and hot takes that come out of such a hotly anticipated matchup.