When was last time USC and UCLA reached Sweet 16, Elite Eight in same year?

Basketball players struggle at the hoop
USC forward Evan Mobley, left, shoots as UCLA guard Jaylen Clark defends during the first half on March 6 Staples Center.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

In the Before Times of a pre-COVID world, the USC and UCLA men’s basketball teams would be preparing for Friday Sweet 16 showdowns with Oregon and Alabama, respectively.

But these are not normal times, which means the Trojans and Bruins — Sweet 16 participants in the same year for the first time since 2007 — will not resume their NCAA men’s tournament drives until Sunday, with the opportunity to advance to Tuesday Elite Eight matchups in Indianapolis.

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In past men’s tournaments, the Sweet 16 began on Thursday and continued into Friday, with four games each night packed into two television slots. By moving the round to the weekend, each of the four games on Saturday and Sunday will get its own television slot. Elite Eight games will be played on Monday and Tuesday night. Favorable ratings could prompt the NCAA to maintain the schedule beyond this season.

UCLA, the East Region’s No. 11 seed and a 67-47 victory over Abilene Christian on Monday, defeated second-seeded Alabama on Sunday. The Bruins will play No. 1 Michigan on Tuesday in the Elite Eight.

With their 85-51 rout of Kansas on Monday, USC, the West Region’s No. 6 seed, will play seventh-seeded Oregon at 6:45 p.m. PDT on TBS. The Trojans defeated the Ducks 72-58 at Galen Center on Feb. 22 in their only prior meeting this season.

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A UCLA victory over the Crimson Tide would be their first Sweet 16 win since 2008, when the top-seeded Bruins defeated Xavier in the West Regional final before falling to Memphis in the Final Four.

A win over the Ducks would lift the Trojans — projected by former President Obama to reach the fourth round — to their first Elite Eight since 2001, when they fell to Duke 79-69. A Duke defeat of UCLA two days earlier thwarted a USC-UCLA East Regional final.


The two L.A. schools have yet to reach an Elite Eight in the same year.

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