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#pounditWednesday, October 27, 2021

UCLA has been a blessing to CBS during March Madness

Mick Cronin

Gonzaga and Baylor may be facing off in the national championship game on Monday night, but it is UCLA that has been the team of the NCAA Tournament.

The Bruins got bounced 93-90 in overtime by the Bulldogs on Saturday night in their Final Four game. They lost after making a great comeback in the final minute of regulation, closing a 5-point margin to tie things. And then they lost in overtime after tying things once again, only to fall on a miracle shot by Jalen Suggs.

The great game — the game of the tourney so far — was a continuation of what UCLA has done throughout the tournament. The Bruins made a great run as an underdog, played three overtime games, and have given CBS plenty of enjoyable games.

To start, the Bruins faced Michigan State in a play-in game. They came back from down 14 points to tie Michigan State and send the game to overtime, where they won 86-80. They had the only play-in game that went to overtime.

They beat BYU fairly comfortably in the first round and handled Abilene Christian with ease in the second round. But then they went to overtime against Alabama in the Sweet 16. The other three Sweet 16 games played that day were blowouts, but UCLA and Bama played a tight one. The Bruins won it 88-78 in OT.

Then UCLA played the closest game in the Elite Eight too, beating Michigan in a nail-biter 51-49. The game was close throughout, unlike Gonzaga, which blew out USC in the other game.

Then, of course, UCLA played Gonzaga tight the entire way in the Final Four and even sent it to overtime before losing on a miracle shot. Without UCLA involved, many of the NCAA Tournament days featured blowouts. The Bruins gave sports fans what they enjoy — close games, especially ones featuring an underdog team. CBS and Turner Sports should be grateful for the Bruins.

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