Gonzaga forward Drew Timme grabs a rebound over UCLA guard Johnny Juzang during overtime in the Final Four of the NCAA tournament on April 3 in Indianapolis. (Darron Cummings / Associated Press)
Jalen Suggs sinking that 40-footer off the backboard and leaping onto a courtside table in celebration may not be the most recent image in the UCLA-Gonzaga basketball rivalry as of late November.
The teams anticipate staging a rematch of their Final Four classic on Nov. 23 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas as part of a four-team event in which the Bruins and Bulldogs would also play a mid-major opponent the previous day.
The game between UCLA and Gonzaga comes with an intriguing subplot beyond giving the Bruins an opportunity for quick revenge.
Both teams are jostling for the top spot in the preseason national rankings, meaning that the winner of this game could put itself in prime position to get the No. 1 seed in the West region. Whoever emerges with that designation would get a coveted path to New Orleans for the Final Four, with the West regional semifinals and final set for San Francisco’s Chase Center.
UCLA returns all five starters from the team that lost to Gonzaga on Suggs’ buzzer-beater in overtime. Suggs won’t be back, having declared for the NBA draft after his freshman season. Bulldogs standouts Corey Kispert and Joel Ayayi have also departed, but the team will bring back star forward Drew Timme while adding Chet Holmgren, the No. 1 recruit in the 2021 high school class, in addition to highly touted guard Hunter Sallis and Iowa State transfer Rasir Bolton.
It could be a lengthy stay in Las Vegas for the Bruins if they opt to remain in town for their anticipated game against Nevada Las Vegas on Nov. 27 at the Thomas & Mack Center. UCLA is also scheduled to play North Carolina in the CBS Sports Classic on Dec. 18 at T-Mobile Arena.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.