South Region

Saturday, March 27th 9:45 PM EST on CBS

4 UCLA Bruins vs. 1 Florida Gators

Game Line: Florida -4.5 Game Total: 138.5 (from JustBet)

 

The SEC champion Florida Gators take on the Pac-12 champion UCLA Bruins in a matchup of contrasting styles on Thursday night. Florida looked quite dominant against a surging Pitt Panther team, holding the Panthers to 37% shooting and winning handily in the third round 61-45. The Gators own the nation’s longest win strake at 28 games win streak and are averaging 71 ppg while shooting 46.3% from the field. They are led by seniors Corey Prather (14.2 ppg) Scottie Wilbekin (12.6 ppg). One could argue that Wilbekin is one of the best floor generals in the nation, with a 2.1 assist to turnover ratio and averaging almost two steals per game. The Gators are one of the best teams in the country on the defensive end and are 3rd in the nation in scoring defense allowing 57.9 ppg, while limiting opponents to 39.8% shooting from the field.

The UCLA Bruins are coming into Thursday evening’s contest with a lot of momentum winners of 5 games in a row. They won the Pac-12 tournament, and have won their two tournament games by an average of 17 points. The Bruins are one of the best offensive teams in the country, led by dynamic scorer Jordan Adams (17.4 ppg) and Kyle Anderson (14.7 ppg). They are averaging 81.8 ppg while shooting 49% from the field this season. They are also efficient on the offensive end with a 1.68 assist to turnover ratio, which is 3rd in the nation.  Defensively the Bruins aren’t that strong, as they are allowing 70.1 ppg and their opponents are shooting 42.5% from the field.

I’m laying the points with the Florida Gators on Thursday night. While I do think Kyle Anderson should be able to handle the full court press of the Gators, I think Florida will definitely slow down the tempo which could put the Bruins out of their comfort zone. Speaking of comfort zone, UCLA has had a pretty easy road thus far, and will be running into a team that is far superior on the defensive end, ranking 6th in the nation in defensive efficiency and allowing just 50 points per game in the tournament. Florida’s physical brand of defense, along with their experience is going to be a little too much for the Bruins to handle. If Florida get’s hot from beyond the arc, this could be a very long night for the Bruins. A lot of so-called experts claimed that the SEC was one of the weaker conferences this season, yet what do we see? Three teams from that conference are playing in the sweet 16, and Florida went undefeated in SEC play. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why they’re the #1 seed in the tournament, and I believe the nation will see another reason why when they handle the Bruins on Thursday night.

 

UCLA Bruins vs. Florida Gators Free NCAABB Pick: Florida -4.5 Under 138.5

UCLA Bruins vs. Florida Gators Game Prediction: Florida 70 UCLA 62

 

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