The Lumberjacks can win because…
They have to be feeling extremely confident right now. Imagine what it must be like for a team to feel that its NCAA tournament run is over, only to be given new life by a weird twist of fate. This is Stephen F. Austin's situation in San Diego. The Lumberjacks were beaten – or at least that's what everybody thought. When a team gets a gift like that, it has to feel that luck is on its side.
When a team survives a game like that, it can grow from the experience. What's also true is that UCLA, the Lumberjacks' opponent on Sunday, is much more of an offensive team, not a defensive team. The Bruins will not pressure the ball nearly as much as VCU did. Stephen F. Austin should be able to run its offense with more fluidity and that can give the Lumberjacks a great comfort zone in this game. Don't think that Stephen F. Austin has just one win in its system in this tournament. This team can play even better and do more than just cover the NCAA basketball odds.
The Bruins can win because…
They were not at their best either against Tulsa late on Friday night and they still managed to win without too many problems. UCLA briefly got careless midway through the second half of that game, enabling Tulsa to pull within five points (57-52). However, the Bruins then turned on the afterburners to pull away and win without much of a problem. It says a lot about a team that it can go in and out of focus, playing well for a few minutes here and then not as well for a few minutes after that... and still win handily.
UCLA is extremely talented. Kyle Anderson and Jordan Adams represent one of the best 1-2 punches in the country. Tony Parker is a promising player in his own right. This team has so much in the way of raw material to work with and it seems that this overall collection of athleticism is coming together at the right time. UCLA got blasted by a bad Washington State team in the finale of the Pac-12 regular season but this team seemed to get the message after that. The Bruins rolled through the Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas and have carried that form into the start of the NCAA tournament. If this team can be just a little more focused and not let down its guard, it should be able to handle whatever Stephen F. Austin can do on the court.
Outlook & Pick
The Bruins might be vulnerable to an upset but they'll be playing close to home in San Diego. Take them with your NCAA basketball picks as they should feel very comfortable in their surroundings. It will be hard for Stephen F. Austin to pull off another upset.