UCLA vs. Northwestern Prediction for March, 18th

UCLA vs. Northwestern Prediction for March, 18th

Photo Credit: © Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

 

Preview

The NCAA Tournament's second round features an intriguing matchup between the UCLA Bruins and Northwestern Wildcats. The Bruins, led by head coach Mick Cronin, finished first in the Pac-12 and boast a 30-5 overall record. The Wildcats, under head coach Chris Collins, went 22-11 and finished 12-8 in the Big Ten. This game promises to be an exciting one, with UCLA favored by 7.5 points according to the latest odds. In this article, we'll take a deep dive into both teams and make our March Madness predictions and picks.

 

UCLA Bruins

The UCLA Bruins had an outstanding season, finishing with a 30-5 overall record and an 18-2 record in Pac-12 play. They enter the NCAA Tournament as a No. 7 seed and have the talent and experience to make a deep run in the tournament. The Bruins are led by sophomore guard Jaime Jaquez Jr., who averages 17.3 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game. Jaquez is a versatile scorer who can score from anywhere on the court and is also an excellent rebounder.

Another key player for the Bruins is sophomore guard Tyger Campbell. Campbell averages 10.4 points, 5.5 assists, and 1.4 steals per game. He is an excellent playmaker who can create opportunities for his teammates and is also a solid defender.

On the defensive end, the Bruins are one of the best teams in the country. They rank 13th in the nation in team defense, giving up only 62.7 points per game while holding opponents to 42.9% shooting. The Bruins also excel at rebounding, averaging 36.3 rebounds per game.

 

Northwestern Wildcats

The Northwestern Wildcats had a solid season, finishing with a 22-11 overall record and a 12-8 record in Big Ten play. They enter the NCAA Tournament as a No. 10 seed and will be looking to pull off an upset against the Bruins. The Wildcats are led by senior guard Boo Buie, who averages 15.2 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game. Buie is an excellent scorer who can score from beyond the arc and is also a solid playmaker.

Another key player for the Wildcats is freshman forward Ryan Young. Young averages 8.1 points and 6.1 rebounds per game, and he is a solid rebounder and defender. He is also capable of scoring inside and out and could be a factor in this game.

On the defensive end, the Wildcats are solid but not exceptional. They gave up 66.2 points per game this season, which ranks 7th in the Big Ten. However, the Wildcats are a solid rebounding team, averaging 33.6 rebounds per game.

 

Betting Trends

Northwestern are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games.

The total has gone UNDER in 9 of Northwestern's last 12 games.

Northwestern are 2-4 SU in their last 6 games.

Northwestern are 1-5 SU in their last 6 games against an opponent in the Pac-12 conference.

UCLA are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games.

The total has gone OVER in 4 of UCLA's last 6 games.

UCLA are 13-1 SU in their last 14 games.

The total has gone OVER in 4 of UCLA's last 5 games against an opponent in the Big Ten conference.

 

Prediction

This game promises to be a close one, but we believe that the Northwestern Wildcats will keep the game close enough to cover the 7.5-point spread. The Wildcats are a talented team that can score from anywhere on the court, and they are also a solid rebounding team. While the Bruins are a more talented team, the Wildcats have the potential to pull off an upset if they play to their full potential.

One of the key factors that could help the Wildcats stay in this game is their ability to shoot from beyond the arc. They rank 7th in the Big Ten in 3-point shooting percentage, making 35.6% of their attempts from downtown. If they can knock down some shots from long range, they could keep the game close and put pressure on the Bruins.

Another factor that could help the Wildcats is their solid defense. While they are not an elite defensive team, they are solid enough to keep the Bruins from running away with the game. If they can force some turnovers and get some stops on the defensive end, they could keep the game within reach.

Finally, the Wildcats have played well in close games this season, going 4-2 in games decided by five points or fewer. If this game is close in the final minutes, the Wildcats will have the confidence and experience to make big plays down the stretch.

Overall, we believe that the Northwestern Wildcats will keep this game close and cover the 7.5-point spread. While the Bruins are a more talented team, the Wildcats have the potential to pull off an upset if they play to their full potential. They have the ability to shoot from beyond the arc, a solid defense, and experience in close games. While the Bruins may ultimately win this game, we think that the Wildcats will keep it close and make things interesting.

 

PICK: Northwestern Wildcats +7.5 (-110)

 

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