The UCLA Bruins and Gonzaga Bulldogs meet up tonight in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. The game is scheduled for a 7:15 p.m. start time and it will be televised nationally on CBS. Currently the NCAA Tournament Betting Odds for the game have the Bulldogs favored by a comfortable margin to pick up the victory.
We’ve all heard about this being Mark Few’s best team at Gonzaga and the Bulldogs are proving that to be true. Few’s team has just two losses on the season, one being on the road in overtime to third-ranked Arizona at the time. The Bulldogs can run, they can score and they shoot the ball exceptionally well, leading the country at 52.4 percent from the floor.
UCLA wasn’t supposed to be in the NCAA Tournament according to many, but a couple of wins over SMU and UAB (albeit not great teams) has them in the Sweet 16 with a chance to keep advancing. Steve Alford has never really had a lot of success in the NCAA Tournament, but a win here would be huge for the Bruins as they’d advance to the Elite Eight.
UCLA scored 92 points in the win over UAB in the last round, scoring 46 points each half while all five starters finished in double figures, led by Tony Parker with 28 points and 12 rebounds. The victory put UCLA into the Sweet 16 for the first time since the 2007-08 season, which was the end of a three-year span where Ben Howland had the Bruins in the Final Four.
Kyle Wiltjer and Kevin Pangos will both be critical to Gonzaga tonight. The duo average just under 29 points and nine rebounds per game, while handing out almost seven assists per contest as well. UCLA will have a tough time slowing both of them down and Gonzaga has really done a great job this season of having other players step up. Both Przemek Karnowski and Byron Wesley have been double-digit guys as well this season. Karnowski is going to battle with Kevin Looney down on the blocks and if the Gonzaga big man has a nice game, the Bulldogs will be moving on.
UCLA is going to have to shoot exceptionally well, out-rebound Gonzaga and find a way to score points from the line. All three will be tough to do consistently.
Free Pick: Gonzaga 76, UCLA 65
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