Houston and Baylor claimed the first two spots in this year's Final Four, but two more teams will punch their tickets on Tuesday night. No. 1 Michigan will take on No. 11 UCLA in one of those Elite 8 matchups at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, with tip-off coming at 9:57 p.m. ET.
The Bruins have put together somewhat of a Cinderella run through the 2021 NCAA Tournament so far. Mick Cronin's program began with an 86-80 overtime win against Michigan State in the First Four and went on to knock off BYU, Abilene-Christian and Alabama to set up a date with the Wolverines in the Elite 8.
"This is the end of the road for the Bruins, much as Monday night was the inevitable end for 12-seed Oregon State," Lunardi wrote in an article on ESPN.com early on Tuesday morning. "The Beavers were in over their heads against Houston's relentless defense and rebounding, and UCLA is almost certain to be flummoxed by Michigan's great balance. The Wolverines are equally proficient offensively and defensively, on the perimeter and inside, and have an experienced resolve that has allowed them to overcome the loss of leading scorer Isaiah Livers. In the biggest mismatch of the Elite Eight round, Michigan rolls."
Michigan flew under the radar down the stretch of the 2020-21 regular season after a COVID-19 pause contributed to three late-year losses. However, the Wolverines have looked like a deserving one-seed this March.
In Juwan Howard's first year at the helm, Michigan has rolled through the NCAA Tournament. After knocking off No. 16 Texas Southern in the first round, the Wolverines beat a talented LSU team to advance to the Sweet 16. The Big Ten regular season champs then comfortably handled No. 4 Florida State, leading them to tonight's game against the Bruins.
If Michigan can get the job done on Tuesday, Howard and his team will await the winner of Gonzaga-USC in the Final Four. The Bulldogs and Trojans tip-off at 7:15 p.m. ET on Tuesday night. Both Elite 8 games will air on TBS.