NCAA TOURNAMENT | THE FINAL FOUR

Swarming to Task, They Really Can Win This

INDIANAPOLIS — Just when everyone thought they had UCLA's number, the Bruins changed it.

Turned the Final Four into the Indy 500.

Filled the RCA Dome with a scalding roar and covered LSU with skid marks.

Jordan Farmar flew into the corners, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute sprinted down the straightaways, and Ben Howland flapped around as if he were, well, um, a checkered flag.

Can you tell we're still a bit out of sorts? Aren't you?

On a feverish Saturday night, a wide-eyed and possibly overwhelmed UCLA team plodded into a national semifinal game a year early and an offense short.

A couple of hours later, the wide eyes and short breaths belonged to us.

These Bruins, gasp, can really win, gasp, a national championship.

In chasing down and pounding LSU — the final score was 59-45 in a game that wasn't remotely that close — the tortoise did more than beat the hare.

The tortoise became the hare.

The rope-a-dope became hit-and-run.

And, indeed, the once-unimaginable prospect of UCLA's winning a national title game Monday night has become a reality.

"We're so close, we can blow on it," said Cedric Bozeman.

Or, at this rate, blow right over it.

Seriously. UCLA can beat Florida. UCLA should beat Florida.

How are the flighty Gators going to score against all those darting arms and pushing bodies?

And now that the athletic Bruins have added ballet to the bruising, how are the Gators going to stop them?

The last time UCLA won a national title in 1995, it had to defeat Arkansas' 40 minutes of hell.

Saturday night revealed that these Bruins are that hell.

CHICAGO