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11 seeds in Final Four: How UCLA’s March Madness run compares to past teams

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11 seeds in Final Four: How UCLA's March Madness run compares to past teams

UCLA has made Final Four history once again — which doesn’t seem particularly fair, considering how often the Bruins have enjoyed making it to the NCAA Tournament’s national semifinal round.

This time, however, UCLA isn’t playing the role of unstoppable juggernaut. Mick Cronin’s 2020-21 squad is playing the part of Cinderella. The Bruins are only the second First Four team ever to make the Final Four, and only the fifth 11 seed to accomplish the feat.

As we said, it doesn’t seem fair; but the Bruins put the work in to reach this stage of the NCAA Tournament.

MORE MARCH MADNESS: Live scores | Updated bracket | TV schedule

How did Cronin and Co. get here? Through the NCAA Tournament’s East Region, for starters. First, they overcame a 14-point deficit to fellow First Four opponent Michigan State and beat them 86-80 in overtime. Following that, the Bruins managed to secure an 11-point win over 6-seed BYU, the same team that drove undefeated Gonzaga — whom the Bruins will play next — to the brink in the West Coast Conference final.

Following that, UCLA cruised to a 67-47 victory over 14-seed Abilene Christian before struggling to an 88-78 overtime win against SEC regular-season and tournament champion Alabama (the 2 seed). Finally, the Bruins punched their ticket to the Final Four with yet another gutsy, defensive performance: this time against Sporting News Coach of the Year Juwan Howard and the Big Ten regular-season champion Wolverines. The Bruins won 51-49.

It has truly been an incredible run for UCLA — and it hasn’t ended yet. But it begs the question of how their current run compares to other teams that have overcome similar difficulties. Well, question no longer.

Sporting News is here to show you exactly how Cronin’s Bruins compare to other previous 11 seeds who have made the Final Four:

Last time an 11 seed made the Final Four

The last time an 11 seed made the Final Four was in 2018 when Loyola Chicago and Sister Jean took March Madness by storm. It was so recent that a freshman on that team, one Cameron Krutwig, was able to become an NCAA Tournament standout once again in 2021. Prior to that, the next-most recent 11 seed to make the Final Four was VCU in 2011. The Rams’ Final Four run was special in that they were the first team to do it as a First Four team.

How many 11 seeds have made it to the Final Four?

Including UCLA in 2021, five 11 seeds have made the Final Four, starting with LSU in 1986. The second such team did not appear until 20 years later, in 2006, when George Mason replicated the feat. It took considerably less time for the next 11 seed to make the Final Four: VCU in 2011 was next up. Loyola Chicago and UCLA pulled it off in 2018 and ’21, respectively.

Below is a rundown of each of the previous four teams’ runs, including opponents, margin of victory and key players:

Stats reflect NCAA Tournament numbers

LSU (1986)

Opponents

  • 84-87 20T win over Purdue (Southeast 6 seed)
  • 83-81 win over Memphis State (Southeast 3 seed )
  • 70-64 win Georgia Tech (Southeast 2 seed)
  • 59-57 win Kentucky (Southeast 1 seed)
  • 88-77 loss to Louisville (West 2 seed)

Margin of victory: 4.3 points per game

Key players

  • Derrick Taylor (16.2 ppg, 3.8 apg, 3.2 spg)
  • Anthony Wilson (13.2 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 1.4 spg)
  • Don Redden (21.6 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 51.9 field goal percentage)
  • Ricky Blanton (9.2 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 70.4 field goal percentage)
  • John Williams (14 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 4.0 apg)

George Mason (2006)

Opponents

  • 75-65 win over Michigan State (D.C. 6 seed)
  • 65-60 win over North Carolina (D.C. 3 seed)
  • 63-55 win over Wichita State (D.C. 7 seed)
  • 86-84 OT win over UConn (D.C. 1 seed)
  • 73-58 loss to Florida (Minneapolis 3 seed)

Margin of victory: 6.3 points per game

Key players

  • Jai Lewis (11.8 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 1.8 spg)
  • Lamar Butler (14.4 ppg, 55.8 field goal percentage)
  • WIll Thomas (13.0 ppg, 9.0 rpg)
  • Tony Skinn (11.3 ppg)
  • Folarin Campbell (15.4 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 2.6 apg, 62.5 field goal percentage)

MORE: What is the lowest seed to make Final Four in NCAA Tournament?

VCU (2011)

Opponents

  • 59-46 win over USC (Southwest 11 seed)
  • 74-56 win over Georgetown (Southwest 6 seed)
  • 94-76 win over Purdue (Southwest 3 seed)
  • 72-71 OT win over Florida State (Southwest 10 seed)
  • 71-61 win over Kansas (Southwest 1 seed)
  • 70-62 loss to Butler (Southeast 8 seed)

Margin of victory: 12 points per game

Key players

  • Jamie Skeen (17.5 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 47.8 field goal percentage)
  • Bradford Burgess (15.7 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 1.2 spg, 1.7 bpg)
  • Joey Rodriguez (9.0 ppg, 7.7 apg)

Loyola Chicago (2018)

Opponents

  • 64-62 win over Miami (South 6 seed)
  • 63-62 win over Tennessee (South 3 seed)
  • 68-68 win over Nevada (South 7 seed)
  • 78-62 win over Kansas State (South 9 seed)
  • 68-57 loss to Michigan (West 3 seed)

Margin of victory: 4.8 points per game

Key players

  • Clayton Custer (12.2 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.4 apg)
  • Donte Ingram (7.0 ppg, 5.8 rpg)
  • Cameron Krutwig (10.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 1.8 apg)
  • Aundre Jackson (11.8 ppg, 57.5 field goal percentage)

HISTORY OF UPSETS BY SEED:
15 vs. 2 | 14 vs. 3 | 13 vs. 4 | 12 vs. 5

How UCLA compares

Opponents

  • 86-80 OT win over Michigan State (East 11 seed)
  • 73-62 win over BYU (East 6 seed)
  • 67-47 win over Abilene Christian (East 14 seed)
  • 88-78 OT win over Alabama (East 2 seed)
  • 51-49 win over Michigan (East 1 seed)

Margin of victory: 9.8 points per game

Key players

  • Jaime Jaquez Jr. (14.2 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 1.6 spg)
  • Johnny Juzang (21.6 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 47.7 field goal percentage)
  • Tyger Campbell (8.8 ppg, 3.8 rpg)
  • Jules Bernard (10.8 ppg, 7.4 rpg)
  • Cody Riley (8.0 ppg, 5.2 rpg)

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Jaguars’ Travis Etienne to work out at receiver in rookie minicamp

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Jaguars' Travis Etienne to work out at receiver in rookie minicamp

The Urban Meyer experiment continues to produce interesting results in Jacksonville.

The first-year Jaguars coach told reporters on Saturday that Travis Etienne — the second running back taken off the board and No. 25 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft — will take all of his rookie minicamp reps as a receiver.

From NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport:

MORE: 2021 NFL Draft grades, from best (Dolphins) to worst (Raiders)

That’s certainly one way to work your rookie into the offense.

While it’s not unheard of for players to change positions once they reach the NFL, it does seem a little strange that it would happen with Etienne, considering his track record of success as a running back. To be fair, he consistently demonstrated excellent pass-catching ability while at Clemson, totaling 102 receptions for 1,155 yards (11.3 yards per catch) and eight receiving touchdowns.

Moreover, Etienne was among college football’s best pass-catching running backs for the 2020 season, per Pro Football Focus. He caught 48 passes for 588 yards — both single-season highs — and two touchdowns. That might work to his favor with the Jaguars, as former Clemson star and No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence will still be his quarterback in Jacksonville.

That said, Etienne’s pass-catching ability makes him a dual threat as a running back; it doesn’t guarantee a successful transition to a full-time wide receiver. It’s unclear whether Meyer considered changing Etienne’s position (5-10, 215 pounds) when he drafted him, but that could have been the case considering James Robinson (1,070 yards, seven touchdowns in 2020) was so effective as an undrafted rookie.

One thing you can say about the move: It’s making people talk. Add Tim Tebow and Meyer’s coaching decisions to the mix, and the Jaguars are one of the most interesting teams of the 2021 NFL offseason.

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NBA playoff scenarios 2021: Updated playoff picture, seeds ahead of play-in tournament, first round

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NBA playoff scenarios 2021: Updated playoff picture, seeds ahead of play-in tournament, first round

What do we know about the NBA playoff seedings with just two days remaining in the 2020-21 regular season? Well, not much.

After Friday night’s slate of games, only the 76ers, Celtics and Spurs know exactly where they stand. Philadelphia has clinched the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, while Boston (No. 7 in the East) and San Antonio (No. 10 in the West) have locked in their spots for the play-in tournaments.

NBA STANDINGS: Seeding scenarios, breakdown for playoff spots

With teams still jockeying for position, here is a breakdown of the clinching scenarios for Saturday’s games along with the possible seedings in each conference.

NBA playoff scenarios 2021

Eastern Conference

1. 76ers
2. Nets or Bucks
3. Nets or Bucks
4. Hawks, Heat or Knicks
5. Hawks, Heat or Knicks
6. Hawks, Heat or Knicks
———————————
7. Celtics
8. Hornets, Pacers or Wizards
9. Hornets, Pacers or Wizards
10. Hornets, Pacers or Wizards

  • The Hawks clinch the Southeast Division title with a loss by the Heat.

Western Conference

1. Jazz or Suns
2. Jazz or Suns
3. Nuggets or Clippers
4. Nuggets or Clippers
5. Mavericks or Trail Blazers
6. Mavericks, Trail Blazers or Lakers
—————————
7. Trail Blazers or Lakers
8. Warriors or Grizzlies
9. Warriors or Grizzlies
10. Spurs

  • The Trail Blazers clinch a playoff spot with a loss by the Lakers.
  • The Jazz clinch the best record in the West with a loss by the Suns.

NBA standings 2021: Eastern Conference

Seed Team Record Games back
1. 76ers* 48-23
2. Nets* 46-24 1.5
3. Bucks* 45-25 2.5
4. Hawks* 40-31 8
5. Heat* 39-31 8.5
6. Knicks* 39-31 8.5
7. Celtics** 35-35 12.5
8. Hornets** 33-37 14.5
9. Pacers** 33-37 14.5
10. Wizards** 33-38 15
Bulls 30-40 17.5
Raptors 27-44 21
Cavaliers 22-49 26
Magic 21-50 27
Pistons 20-51 28

*clinched playoff berth
**clinched play-in berth
Eliminated from playoff contention: Bulls, Cavaliers, Magic, Pistons, Raptors

NBA standings 2021: Western Conference

Seed Team Record Games back
1. Jazz* 51-20
2. Suns* 49-21 1.5
3. Nuggets* 47-24 4
4. Clippers* 47-24 4
5. Mavericks* 42-29 9
6. Trail Blazers 41-30 10
7. Lakers 40-30 10.5
8. Warriors** 38-33 13
9. Grizzlies** 38-33 13
10. Spurs** 33-37 17.5
Pelicans 31-40 20
Kings 31-40 20
Timberwolves 22-48 28.5
Thunder 21-50 30
Rockets 17-54 34

*clinched playoff berth
**clinched play-in berth

Eliminated from playoff contention: Kings, Pelicans, Rockets, Thunder, Timberwolves

NBA playoff bracket 2021

(NBA)

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Preakness live race updates, results, highlights from 2021 Triple Crown race

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Preakness live race updates, results, highlights from 2021 Triple Crown race

Two weeks after the Kentucky Derby, the second leg of the Triple Crown Race is here.

The 2021 Preakness Stakes has even more intrigue this year because of the controversy surrounding Medina Spirit, winner of the Derby. A test result from after the race found the horse to have 21 picograms of betamethasone, 11 more than the legal race limit. Trainer Bob Baffert insists that the positive test wasn’t a result of drugging, calling Churchill Downs’ decision to invalidate the horse’s win — pending a second positive test — “an injustice.”

Adding to the controversy: Mandaloun, the runner-up from the Derby, will be retroactively deemed the winner at Churchill Downs should a second test confirm the first. But Mandaloun will not run at the Pimlico Race Course. So we could have a scenario in which Medina Spirit wins the race without being in the official running for the Triple Crown.

All the more reason to watch Saturday’s spectacle. Follow along as Sporting News provides live updates during the 2021 Preakness Stakes.

MORE: Payout breakdown for 2021 Preakness Stakes

Preakness Stakes finish order

This section will be updated with final race results.

Post position Horse Win Place Show
1 Medina Spirit      
2 Mandaloun      
3 Hot Rod Charlie      
4 Essential Quality      
5 O Besos      
6 Midnight Bourbon      
7 Keepmeinmind      
8 Helium      
9 Known Agenda      
10 Highly Motivated      

Watch the 2021 Preakness Stakes

This section will be updated.

Preakness Stakes live updates, highlights, results

All times Eastern

2:49 p.m.: For those curious to see how Medina Spirit will perform in today’s race:

2:23 p.m.: And winner of Race No. 7 at the Preakness: Mischief Afoot.

2:16 p.m.:Your winner for the 2021 Gallorette Stakes: Mean Mary!

2021 Preakness Stakes post time

Coverage of the 2021 Preakness Stakes will begin at 2 p.m. ET on the NBC Sports Network. NBC will take over coverage at 5 p.m. ahead of the race’s scheduled post time of 6:50 p.m. ET.

You can also stream the Stakes live with fuboTV, which offers a seven-day free trial.

Preakness Stakes post positions

Below is the full list of starting spots, as well as each horse’s morning line odds of winning the Preakness Stakes.

Post position Horse Odds
1 Ram 30/1
2 Keepmeinmind 15/1
3 Medina Spirit 9/5
4 Crowded Trade 10/1
5 Midnight Bourbon 5/1
6 Rombauer 12/1
7 France Go De Ina 20/1
8 Unbridled Honor 15/1
9 Risk Taking 15/1
10 Concert Tour 5/2

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