Jordan Adams injury makes Minnesota a popular upset pick over UCLA

Jordan AdamsMinnesota quickly became one of the most popular 11-seed over 6-seed upset picks for the NCAA Tournament. A few hours after the brackets were released, ESPN reported that over 70 percent of users submitting picks on their bracket challenge had the Golden Gophers beating the No. 6 seed UCLA Bruins. They’re not the only ones expecting Minnesota to win; Las Vegas has the Gophers favored by three over the Bruins.

Why would a team that went 8-10 in conference be picked to beat a team that won its conference’s regular-season title? It all has to do with the injury to Jordan Adams.

Adams, a freshman guard, was the Bruins’ second-leading scorer at 15.3 points per game. He was injured at the end of UCLA’s 66-64 win over Arizona in the semifinals of the Pac-12 tournament Friday night. The team lost to Oregon in the championship game the next day, playing without him for the first time this season.

Adams had been hot prior to breaking a bone in his foot. He scored 20 or more points in four of his last eight games, during which the Bruins went 7-1.

Though the Bruins are weaker without one of their top players, the matchup is not as bad for them as it could be. The Bruins’ weakness is teams that have size. They allowed huge games to 6-foot-10 Brock Motum in a loss to Washington State; 7-foot-2 Jordan Bachynski in a loss to Arizona State, and they were beaten on the interior in an overtime loss to USC in January. Minnesota’s top big man is 6-foot-8 senior forward Trevor Mbakwe, who will probably have a big game. 6-foot-11 center Elliott Eliason only averages 13.6 minutes per game, but he could see a boost in action in the team’s first-round matchup.

Minnesota started off the season 15-1 after recording wins over Michigan State, and Pac-12 teams Stanford and USC. They lost their last three games and are trending in the wrong direction.

The NCAA Tournament committee admitted that the Adams injury led them to place UCLA a line lower in seeding than they would have otherwise. Though UCLA is facing challenges without Adams, I don’t think this matchup is as bad for them as it could be.

UCLA Commit Jordan Adams Says Ex-Tennessee Coach Bruce Pearl Sent ‘Beautiful’ Girl to Recruit Him

The hits just keep on coming for Bruce Pearl. In an interview with National Recruiting Spotlight, UCLA basketball commit Jordan Adams revealed that Pearl sent a “beautiful” girl to meet with him. We presume that the former Tennessee coach sent this girl in hopes of persuading Adams to become a Volunteer. That’s a safe assumption considering this isn’t the first time Tennessee has used an attractive girl in recruiting high school prospects.

When asked if he had any interesting stories during his recruitment, Adams responded (quote since deleted from the interview):

“Yeah, well, he’s fired now, so… we had a game and there was this girl, she was beautiful. She came up to me and started talking to me and told me she went to Tennessee. She said Bruce Pearl sent her. I kind of knew she was kind of a groupie, but she was just so beautiful I just had to talk to her… I had to talk to her, she was beautiful.”

Pearl was fired back in March for a laundry list of recruiting and coaching violations. The outspoken coach is not the only coach to bend and break NCAA rules, but for one reason or another, his transgressions were always in the spotlight. Maybe his animated style has something to do with it, or maybe it was the fact that he broke too many rules to keep hidden.

Following his termination from Tennessee, Pearl left basketball for a marketing position with H.T Hackney Co. If he chooses to come back to the sport, this isn’t going to help.