Michigan’s balance on both ends of the floor will be enough for Juwan Howard’s team to punch its ticket to the Final Four, ESPN college basketball expert Joe Lunardi says.

Tuesday night, Michigan and UCLA will go head to head in the Elite Eight with a trop to the Final Four hanging in the balance. The Wolverines earned one of the four No. 1 seeds in this year’s tournament while the No. 11 seed Bruins have made a run from the play-in game to one victory away from the Final Four.

But Lunardi believes UCLA’s miraculous run ends Tuesday night in Indianapolis.


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“This is the end of the road for the Bruins, much as Monday night was the inevitable end for 12-seed Oregon State. The Beavers were in over their heads against Houston’s relentless defense and rebounding, and UCLA is almost certain to be flummoxed by Michigan’s great balance,” Lunardi wrote for ESPN.com. “The Wolverines are equally proficient offensively and defensively, on the perimeter and inside, and have an experienced resolve that has allowed them to overcome the loss of leading scorer Isaiah Livers. In the biggest mismatch of the Elite Eight round, Michigan rolls.

Michigan has reached this point with wins over Texas Southern, LSU and Florida State. Even without Livers on the floor, Howard is just one win away from leading his team to the Final Four in only his second season as the head coach.

Tuesday’s game is a late one, with tip-off currently scheduled for 9:57 p.m. ET. Coverage is on TBS.