Butler, Kentucky-UCLA headline Sweet 16 showdowns Friday

In 32 minutes, Monk dropped 21 points on 8-of-17 shooting, including dropping four triples against the different defensive looks the Bruins showed at him and the 'Cats.

Here's a breakdown of the action scheduled Friday night from the South and East Regions in Memphis and NY, respectively.

Second-seeded Kentucky leaned on its defense on one end of the court while its own heralded freshman point guard took advantage on the other. That question is probably easier to answer now than it was when UCLA left Kentucky with a 97-92 win over the then-top-ranked Wildcats on December 3. The point totals for both players were mentioned above, but UCLA's guards struggled to defend Fox and Monk.

"I think I scored like the first eight points of the game, and after that, I was like, you know, 'It's going to be a good night for me, ' " Fox said. Lonzo Ball had 10 points, and his eight assists moved him past Jason Kidd into second place on the Pac-12's single-season assists list with 274.

No. 3 seed UCLA (31-4) vs.

The Bruins were playing in their third Sweet 16 in four years.

A roster with at least one National Basketball Association player - Ball confirmed after the game that he will declare for the June 22 draft - could look very different next season.

The second-seeded Cats, riding a 14-game win streak, will advance to face top-seeded North Carolina on Sunday in the South Region finals at FedExForum.

The Bruins brought both Lonzo Ball and Bryce Alford out toward midcourt to defend Fox with two minutes to play, and Fox chose to add an exclamation point to the most dazzling performance of this NCAA Tournament.

De'Aaron Fox scored 39 points and drove his team in a way that Ball did not. The matchup promises to be entertaining: UCLA is the nation's top scoring team, while Kentucky has won 13 straight.

"Guys can make a good living sooner than what it was two decades ago, three decades ago", Alford said.

TJ Leaf kept the game close for the Bruins, scoring 13 points.

He made 13 of 20 field goal attempts, including 6 of 8 in the second half. "That's why we won".

Fans lustily booed Kentucky coach John Calipari in his first game in Memphis since leaving in April 2009 for the Wildcats. And boy, did De'Aaron Fox pick the right time to have the best game of what will be his short college career. "But why would you want to play an easy game in the Sweet 16". The Southeastern Conference player of the year had only seven points in the first half.

Ball (10 points, eight assists, 1-for-6 on 3s) bowed out with a solid but modest effort, considering the performances he'd compiled throughout the season, and Kentucky offered a reminder of its status as the one-and-done king with more grit than flash.

The Gamecocks (25-10) surrounded All-American Johnathan Motley and tried to pressure every touch he got, holding him to 18 points. The game was a back-and-forth thing for a half, but then Malik Monk got going and the combination of those two freshmen left UCLA - which has two vaunted freshmen in Ball and T.J. Leaf - in the dust, which is a place these sleek Bruins have never been.

The Bruins shot 63 percent (17 of 27) in the second half, but couldn't stop Kentucky.

  • Julie Sanders