UCLA, USC Go From Late Night to NCAA Prime-time Spotlight
LOS ANGELES (AP) — UCLA and Southern California are in the regional semifinals of the same men's NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2007 and the third time overall.
The Bruins and Trojans are crosstown rivals but both have built tournament runs on similar traits, including strong coaching and great defense with local players leading the way. The Pac-12 Conference is assured of at least one team in the Elite Eight with USC facing Oregon in a West Region matchup Sunday night. UCLA also plays Sunday when it meets Alabama for a spot in the East Region final.
Now, after beating Michigan State in overtime just to escape the First Four, the unheralded Bruins are marching forward in the NCAA Tournament. Next up is top-seeded Michigan on Tuesday night for a spot in the Final Four. UCLA has beaten Michigan in three of their four NCAA Tournament games, including the 1965 national championship in Portland, Oregon.
The Trojans (25-7) clipped the high-flying Ducks with their length on the perimeter and 7-footer Evan Mobley in the middle. Offensively, the region’s No. 6 seed bobbed and weaved through the holes in Oregon’s defense, shooting 57% and 10 of 17 from 3.
The all-around domination put USC in the Elite Eight for the second time in 60 years and three Pac-12 teams in the regional final for the first time since 2001. Next up is a shot at undefeated Gonzaga in the regional final Tuesday.