NCAA Tournament 2017, Kentucky vs UCLA: Highlights, score and recap

He is 0-3.

When third-seeded UCLA faces second-seeded Kentucky in the NCAA tournament South regional semifinal on Friday, he's hoping for a breakthrough.

Freshman TJ Leaf and Isaac Hamilton each had 17 points for UCLA. Ball is nearly sure to leave for the National Basketball Association and TJ Leaf isn't the only freshman who might join him.

"They're top of the food chain", Alford said. So there's an urgency, one, as coaches in preparation.

DID YOU KNOW: UCLA beat the then-No.

Which players will depart UCLA in the offseason is just the tip of the uncertainty for Alford, whose own life-altering decision looms as his alma mater in seeks a new coach.

The top tier of Ball, Monk and Fox is projected to go in the top six by The Vertical, DraftExpress and Bleacher Report.

The best roster he's ever assembled has helped him reach the doorstep of his greatest feat. "We were debating on getting them, but our desires held true to we had to come", laughed North Carolina fan, Kim Tomblin.

UCLA also topped Kentucky by five at Rupp Arena earlier this season - so motivation shouldn't be an issue for the 'Cats either.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report. In the end, John Calipari's Wildcats will get the better of Roy William's Tar Heels and Kentucky will advance onto Glendale.

North Carolina vs. Kentucky prediction and game preview, as the No. 1 Tar Heels and No. 2 Wildcats face off in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament. The victor of that March Madness 2017 game advances to the Final Four in Phoenix.

BOOS OR CHEERS: Calipari has a winning history at the FedExForum from his tenure coaching the Memphis Tigers.

For now, that distinction belongs to Kentucky. The Wildcats (32-5) edged the Tar Heels 103-100 in the CBS Classic in Las Vegas earlier this season. "We played them at home in Lexington and now we're playing them in his home building". Meanwhile, he also had to keep tabs on Kentucky, which was playing UCLA in Memphis. "They're very elite and those are the three reasons (and) there's many more reasons, but those are three very good reasons why (the were) in the position they're in".

The freshman guard has hit his first four shots and has all of Kentucky's first eight points.

FAB FRESHMEN: Kentucky has its trio of starting freshmen in Malik Monk, De'Aaron Fox and Bam Adebayo.

The five players could continue their ascent all the way to National Basketball Association draft lottery in a few months. Now the Bruins turn their attention to Kentucky, who they own a 5-1 ATS record against in the last six meetings between these two teams with a 3-1 SU record in the last four. The Memphis field's magnetic pull drew in first-time visitors, along with locals, able to see some of college basketball's biggest stars up close and personal.

"What we're doing here is right for these kids", Calipari said. "Think of some of the teams I would have had if we had guys for four years".

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