THIS IS MARCH! UCLA advances to the Final Four after defeating Michigan, 51-49. UCLA goes from losing four straight games to end the regular season, to cashing their ticket to the Final Four. This is UCLA’s first Final Four berth since 2008.
UCLA has been a cinderella team all tournament. People doubted UCLA head coach Mick Cronin’s ability to outcoach Tom Izzo and get the win over Michigan State. They fought until the last second and got the win. They did the same against BYU and Abeline Christian, and yet people still didn’t believe. No way the No. 11 seeded UCLA would defeat the No. 2 seeded Alabama, right? Wrong. They upset Alabama and have now upset Michigan!
UCLA was led, once again, by guard Johnny Juzang. UCLA’s guard play is what got them to the elite eight, and is the reason they are now in the Final Four. After an early run in the first quarter by Michigan, Juzang decided enough was enough. He led scored bucket after bucket, closing the quarter on a 23-12 run for UCLA. Juzang ended the first half with 18 pts on 8/10 shooting. The rest of the was 3/12 at that point.
Michigan had their chances late in the game, but ultimatly missed their last eight shots. Guard Mike Smith drove the ball down the court with six seconds remaining and pulled up from three, but it rimmed out. The rebound was last touched by UCLA’s Jaylen Clark, giving Michigan another shot with 0.5 seconds left. Franz Wagner took the last shot that went off the backboard and out of the rim. Those last eight shots will come back to haunt Michigan as they had a direct impact on the loss.
UCLA now draws the best team in college basketball, Gonzaga. UCLA pulled off an upset against the Zags 15 years ago, and they look to do that once again. After going from the first-four to the final four, UCLA’s eyes have widened on one goal: the National Championship.