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UCLA Embraces an Unusual Role to Push Through to a Final Four Few Thought Possible

INDIANAPOLIS — The on-court celebration was just about over when Mick Cronin found a bottle of hand sanitizer on the corner of the court. He picked it up, squirted some on his mitts, then grabbed a pile of East Region championship hats. He was going to throw them into the stands to family and friends amid the ecstatic UCLA cheering section when red-coated security guards rushed in to stop this heinous act of communal joy.

Cronin turned away with a laugh. Apparently the hats were viewed as potential health hazard, carrying COVID-19 or something from the Lucas Oil Stadium floor to the folks in the stands.