Can UCLA spring the upset & continue to exceed expectations? Will Gonzaga be able to keep their dreams alive and reach their first ever “Final Four”? Read our article and you’ll surely feel empowered.
Bruins and Bulldogs Rematch
The #11 seed UCLA Bruins will face the #2 seed Gonzaga Bulldogs in the South Regional semifinals on Friday. The game will take place in Houston, Texas, and the opening tip is slated for 7:15 PM ET. According to the NCAA Tournament betting odds at Bookmaker, Gonzaga is an 8.5 point favorite, and the posted total is 145.0. These teams met during the regular season at UCLA, and Gonzaga came away with a convincing 87-74 win. That game easily surpassed the total of 147.5, and it was aided in doing so by Gonzaga shooting a blistering hot 58.5% from the field.
UCLA playing with House Money
There were many who felt that UCLA was undeserving of being in the NCAA Tournament. There’s even more who would’ve never predicted them reaching “The Sweet 16”. The Bruins upset #6 seed SMU in the second round of a somewhat controversial win. I say controversial, due to the final winning margin coming as a result of goaltending call on a three-point shot, and replay clearly showed the decision to be suspect at best. The Bruins then caught a major break in third round by having to face #14 seed UAB. The Blazers had upset #3 seed Iowa St. as a double-digit underdog in order to advance. UCLA dominated UAB 92-75 and punched their ticket to Houston. The Bruins shot a sizzling 60.3% from the field in that win, and held a huge 41-26 advantage on the boards. One area of concern for UCLA was their turnover margin in the first two games of the tournament. The Bruins were a combined -15 turnover differential versus SMU and UAB.
Gonzaga gets over the Proverbial Hump
The Gonzaga Bulldogs had been eliminated during “The Round of 32” in the previous five NCAA Tournaments. Well they finally were able to clear that hurdle on Sunday with an impressive 87-68 win over a red-hot Iowa tam. The Hawkeyes entered that contest versus Gonzaga having held each of their previous eight opponents to less than 40% shooting from the field. Gonzaga was hardly in awe of their defensive prowess, and shot a sizzling 61.4% from the field. The Bulldogs have gone over the total in all five of their postseason games which includes the WCC Tournament, and those contests averaged 155.2 points combined being scored. They also shot a terrific 54.3% from the field during that five game stretch.
UCLA is on borrowed time, and that clock is about to expire. Gonzaga has all the ingredients needed to make a deep NCAA Tournament run. I’m going to lay the points with the Bulldogs for one of my NCAA tournament picks on Friday.
Free NCAA Tournament Pick: Play on Gonzaga -8.5 at Bookmaker.