UCLA’s incredible NCAA Tournament run came to an end in heartbreaking fashion with a Final Four loss to Gonzaga last night. But head coach Mick Cronin believes that the Bruins and their fans should have their heads held high.
Speaking to the media after the 93-90 overtime loss, Cronin declared that fans should go get season tickets. He stated that once the pandemic is over he wants to see fans crowding their arena as he turns UCLA back into a “a yearly elite program.”
“My message to our fans is get your season tickets. Let’s get this pandemic over with and pack Pauley Pavilion and make UCLA a yearly elite program. That’s what I came to UCLA for.”
Cronin certainly seems to have UCLA on the right track. Despite going 36-21 in his first two seasons, that run to the Final Four showed that he can coach with the best of the best.
"My message to our fans is get your season tickets. Let's get this pandemic over with and pack Pauley Pavilion and make UCLA a yearly elite program. That's what I came to UCLA for."
🗣️🗣️🗣️ … @CoachMickCronin, postgame on Saturday
— UCLA Men’s Basketball (@UCLAMBB) April 4, 2021
UCLA’s 2020-21 season got off to a rough start with a double-digit loss to San Diego State. But by late-January they were a top-25 team and in contention for the Pac-12 crown.
Unfortunately, three straight losses to end the season dropped them to fourth in the Pac-12 standings. And they were bounced from the Pac-12 Tournament by eventual champion Oregon State.
But despite getting an 11-seed and forced to play in the First Four, UCLA got its mojo back and beat Michigan State in overtime. They then began their NCAA Tournament run in earnest, upsetting 6-seed BYU, then rolling over Abilene Christian to reach the Sweet 16.
The Bruins got more overtime magic with a win over 2-seed Alabama. They then narrowly beat 1-seed Michigan to reach the Final Four.
Their national title run may be over, but Mick Cronin may just be getting started in turning UCLA back into a winner.