Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
“You know going into Rupp, it’s gonna be a crazy atmosphere and great team and we knew that,” UCLA forward T.J. Leaf, who had a double-double of 17 points and 13 rebounds to go with 5 assists, said on CBS. “And we just came in, gave it our all, played as hard as we can and we did a good job on the backboards and got the win.”
It was the highest point total ever allowed by a Kentucky team at Rupp under head coach John Calipari. who is now 69-7 as the coach of the No. 1-ranked team there.
The 6-foot-5 1/2 Alexander also went for 20 points and 10 assists on Thursday night in a nationally-televised win over Memphis (TN) East. He and his teammates are expected to visit Kentucky Wednesday for the Valparaiso game, a source said.
Kentucky and UCLA aren’t just two of the most storied programs in college basketball history, they are also at the frontier of recruiting the next wave of stars.
The Wildcats and the Bruins — who will meet on Saturday afternoon at Rupp Arena (12:30, CBS) — have the Nos. 1 and 2-ranked recruiting classes in the Class of 2017, according to both Scout.com and ESPN.com.
Kentucky’s four-man class includes guards Quade Green and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and bigs P.J. Washington and Nick Richards. (Alexander went for 21 points in Hamilton Heights’ (TN) win Thursday night on ESPN2).
UCLA, meantime, has a five-man class that features guards Jaylen Hands and LiAngelo Ball, small forward Kris Wilkes and bigs Cody Riley and Jalen Hill.