INDIANAPOLIS, IN – It’s not too often when a 11-time national champion, coached by the game’s greatest ever is called a Cinderella. Thanks to their improbable run, the 11th-seeded UCLA Bruins are exactly that.
Fresh from their 51-49 win over No.1 seed Michigan, the Bruins now face top overall seed in the undefeated 34-0 Gonzaga Bulldogs, who are chasing history. Despite their blue blood lineage, 11 title banners and some of the greatest to ever play in the game from Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar), Bill Walton and current NBA superstars such as NBA MVP Russell Westbrook and 2016 NBA champion, Kevin Love, the Bruins have been underestimated at every turn.
From having to survive a First Four matchup against the always-tough Michigan State, 86-80 followed by wins over No.6 BYU 73-62, No.14 Abilene Christian 67-47, No.2 Alabama 88-78 and their close two-point win over the aforementioned Wolverines, the Wizards of Westwood have a chance to channel their inner Harry Potter and perform their greatest magic trick yet vs. the juggernaut Zags.
Too small. Not worthy. Too gritty and boring for the usually flashy SoCal lifestyle.
Don’t matter, the Bruins are winning and advancing under first year coach, Mick Cronin, whom many didn’t initially warm up to due to his non-Cali roots.
It’s amazing how a Final Four run changes things, huh.
If Cronin and his band of Bruins are somehow able to slay Gonzaga and bring home the program’s 12th overall title on the home soil of John Wooden, then that will be a L.A. story worth telling for years to come.