LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Crosstown rivals USC and UCLA are both in the Elite Eight for the first time ever.
No. 6 seed USC easily handled No. 7 Oregon Sunday to make it to its first Elite Eight in 20 years, while No. 11 seed UCLA continued its Cinderella run with a thrilling overtime win over No. 2 Alabama.
The two schools each have their work cut out for them Tuesday if they hope to advance to the Final Four. USC will face undefeated No. 1 seed Gonzaga, while UCLA takes on No. 1 seed Michigan.
If both Los Angeles schools were to win, they would face off on Saturday, April 3 in Indianapolis.
“We believe we can beat anybody,” USC senior guard Isaiah White said after scoring a team-high 22 points in an 82-68 victory over seventh-seeded Oregon.
USC’s only Final Four appearance came in 1954. This is their third Elite Eight appearance.
UCLA upset Alabama 88-78 in overtime to advance to the Elite Eight for the first time since 2008 and 22nd time in school history. The Bruins have reached the Final Four 18 times, most recently in 2008.
“It feels amazing to advance to the Elite Eight, but … we’ve still got a lot of work to do,” UCLA guard-forward Jamie Jaquez Jr. said. “What we can improve on every day, just our defense, talking more on switches because sometimes we get confused and making sure our rebounding is on point.”
The advance comes as high school seniors who’ve been accepted to both schools visit the campuses before they decide where they’ll go in the fall.
Students says school spirit is important following a year of distance learning.
“It’s super fun to be on campus now because I can feel the energy… especially all of the excitement due to the basketball team,” said Maddy Ahlborn, who was recently accepted to USC.
“Being here this weekend was really nice,” UCLA freshman Madison Muggeo said. “It reminds me why I’m suffering. Not suffering but why I’m staying at home…hopefully, I can be here this fall.”
Both Tuesday’s games are being televised by TBS. Tipoff for USC-Gonzaga is at 4:15 p.m. UCLA-Michigan begins at 6:57 p.m.
(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)