The University of California at Los Angeles has perhaps the most storied history in men's college basketball with a record 11 national championship titles. The Bruins are now in position to add to that total with a 59-45 victory late Saturday over Louisiana State University.
LSU used tough defense to dominate teams in its region and reach the championship tournament's so-called Final Four. But LSU became the team that was dominated late Saturday by a stronger UCLA defense. LSU coach John Brady says his team lost the game early.
"Their defense is sound. We could not rebound the ball tonight for some reason," said Brady. "And that is really our strength and they took that away. But I compliment UCLA for the way they guarded us the first 10 or 12 minutes. That was the difference in the game and we were not able to recover."
UCLA coach Ben Howland was better able to rotate players from the bench and keep his starters fresh on the court. Howland says LSU did not have the same advantage.
"I think the depth issue of what they have gone through, really they are only playing seven guys for a lot of minutes. And the wear and tear of that takes its toll. And they are really good," he said.
In the other semifinal, Florida eliminated upstart George Mason, 73-58. Florida will try to win its first national title against UCLA on Monday at the RCA Dome.