The UCLA and USC men’s basketball teams have advanced to the “Sweet 16” round in March Madness, college basketball’s biggest tournament. Two Pac-12 teams, USC and Oregon, face off on Sunday.
“For two of the better teams in the league to be matched in the Sweet 16 on one end is good, because one [of the] Pac-12 teams is moving on. But on the other side, it takes away the opportunity for these Pac-12 teams to keep making noise against the other conferences,” says J. Brady McCollough, sports reporter for LA Times focusing on college basketball.
UCLA also plays on Sunday, against Alabama.
“Alabama may sound like a football school, but they got it rolling this year in hoops,” he says. “So UCLA is gonna have their hands full. They’ll be a pretty serious underdog in that one.”
If UCLA and USC advance past the Sweet 16 and the Elite 8, the two teams would face each other in the Final 4.
Meanwhile, the NCAA is facing a PR nightmare after women players showed up to their bubble in San Antonio to a woefully inadequate weight room. A video went viral comparing the women’s single set of dumbbells to the men’s Indianapolis bubble featuring an elaborate gym full of equipment.
“It's an embarrassment for the NCAA to be shown so clearly favoring the men,” says McCollough, who recently wrote about the absence of a crucial voice in ongoing conversations about gender inequity: Kobe Bryant.
“[It’s] a void that could not be filled by even the ones who did speak up like Steph Curry, Kyrie Irving, and some others. Nobody has an impact like Kobe.”