NCAA Tournament Picks: UCLA vs. Gonzaga | Zags to Move Further Tonight

Joe Gavazzi

Friday, March 27, 2015 2:00 PM UTC

Friday, Mar. 27, 2015 2:00 PM UTC

The UCLA Bruins and Gonzaga Bulldogs meet in the Sweet 16 tonight, and our exper handicapper will guide you through his betting approach, while giving you his reasons behind tonight's tournament pick.

UCLA vs. Gonzaga (-8-) 7:15 ET CBS
The UCLA Bruins and Gonzaga Bulldogs meet in the Sweet 16, and currently Gonzaga are listed on the NCAA Tournament betting odds as short favorites. The game will be played at NRG Stadium at Houston, Texas with a 7:15 Eastern tip as televised on CBS. These two met on December 13th at Pauley Pavilion when the Zags shocked the Bruins 87-74. It was the only home loss of the season for UCLA, who finished 16-1 SU on their home floor. The question is, whether this lone home loss revenge motive is enough to ride UCLA to this point spread victory. 


Since that loss to Gonzaga, second year Bruin HC Steve Alford has seen his team improve dramatically. His Bruins have compensated for the loss of 3 high-round NBA picks in the persons of Anderson, Adams, and LaVine. As the year went on, the Bruins got better. After a 71-39 loss at Utah, UCLA was on a 5 game losing streak, stood 8-7 SU for the year, and 4-11 ATS. Since that time, the 22-13 SU UCLA team has gone 14-6 SU, 15-5 ATS. The inside contingent of Looney and Parker are playing their best basketball of the season. PG Alford is both running the show and scoring. Senior leader Norman Powell is a slashing wingman with tremendous athletic ability. In that point spread run, the Bruins have covered 5 consecutive games as underdog, dating to the January 29th Pauley Pavilion revenge whipping of the Utes, 69-59. That run culminated with a 70-64 loss to Arizona as 11-point dog in the CCTs. Though this is clearly an improved team with a recent 12-3 ATS record, they are just 6-12 SU on the road, with an 8-10 ATS mark. And if they couldn’t hang with the Zags on their home court, it will be difficult to do so at a neutral site. 

For more betting action, check out these top Sweet 16 picks ATS!

This is the best Gonzaga team ever assembled under 16th year HC Mark Few. Their statistical profile is littered with excellence. As a Defensive Dandy, they allow just 61/38/32. There is a +7.2 rebound margin, and a 16.5/10.6 assist/TO margin. As one of the most efficient offensive teams in the nation, they averaged 79 PPG, shoot 53% from the field, and 41% from the arc. On the interior, Karnowski, Sabonis, and Wiltjer are a superior trio to the Bruin front liners. On the perimeter, PG Pangos along with Bell and Westley also get the nod. It would be shocking if UCLA, who allows as many points as anyone in the Sweet 16, could contain the offense of the Zags. Finally, is the Gonzaga roadability. They stand 18-1 SU in road or neutral games (lone loss at Arizona), with 15 of those 18 victories by double digits. In fact, they are 8-0 ATS in road or neutral games when favored by 10 or fewer points. 


End of the line for a UCLA team who survived a 19-0 run by SMU to win their first NCAA Tournament game on a phantom goal tending call. As their reward, they caught a UAB team who had just beaten Iowa St as a 13-point underdog. Tonight, the clock strikes 12 for the Bruins when they face a team who’s 13 point victory over them in December, 87-74, could well resemble tonight’shigh scoring final, so back Gonzaga with your NCAA tournament picks.

NCAA Tournament Pick: Gonzaga at Bookmaker.

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