LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – After a year that was unlike any other in recent memory, UCLA and USC are both gunning for a spot in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament’s Final Four – the first time ever that both schools are in contention.
The 11th-seeded Bruins are 6 1/2-point underdogs ahead of their matchup against top-seeded Michigan (23-4) in the East Regional final at 6:57 p.m. PDT, while USC will be an 8 1/2-point underdog when it faces undefeated Gonzaga in the West Regional final starting at 4:15 p.m.
Both schools have something to prove: UCLA’s last national title came in 1995, while USC has two Final Four appearances more than a half-century ago and hasn’t advanced past the Sweet 16 since 2007.
But USC Athletic Director Mike Bohn told CBSLA Sports Director Jim Hill as far as he’s concerned, his team has already earned the title of “champion”.
“It’s all about our young men that have just done an incredible job and sacrifice so much in order to be here,” said Bohn. “When you think about the isolation, the work they’ve had to do in the classroom, taking their Zoom classes, practice, all the different challenges they face day in and day out, my hat is off to them.”