The UCLA Bruins, an 11 seed, reached the Final Four for the first time since 2008 as they knocked out the East Region’s top seed Michigan 51-49.
UCLA followed a similar blueprint that led to four previous wins in this NCAA Tournament: Toughness. Coach Mick Cronin’s gritty group took charges, forcing turnovers and making the game against Michigan a complete rock fight. The Bruins went from the First Four – as a bubble team – to the Final Four in one of the most improbable March Madness runs in recent memory.
Michigan had three chances to win the East region in the final 10 seconds of the game. But Franz Wagner’s three didn’t hit the rim with less than 10 seconds to go, and a three from Mike Smith with less than three seconds to go bounced twice off the rim.
The ball bounced out of bounds off UCLA after Smith’s shot, and Michigan got 0.5 seconds for another chance. Hunter Dickinson inbounded the ball to Wagner behind the 3-point line, and his potential game-winner went off the backboard, and the rim as the buzzer sounded.