No. 11 UCLA was about a minute away from being knocked out in the First Four. A few weeks later and they’re on the cusp of making the Final Four. This incredible run, just one of many surprises from Pac-12 teams this tournament, has been nothing short of impressive and can be etched in UCLA lore with one more victory. Standing in front of them is also a team that many weren’t sure would be here. Playing without one of their key stars, many online betting handicappers felt that the Wolverines were a team to fade. Instead, they’ve delivered over and over and over to land in the Elite Eight. Take a look to the March Madness odds here!
The Wolverines opened as a 7½-point favorite for Tuesday’s contest but the line has trickled down to 6½ as some money has come in on the Bruins. Will UCLA keep this close or will Michigan get the win and cover the spread?
No. 11 UCLA Bruins vs No. 1 Michigan Wolverines
Date: Tuesday, March 30th, 2021 – 9:57 p.m. ET
Location: Lucas Oil Stadium – Indianapolis, IN
College Basketball Odds: Michigan -6½
UCLA trailed by five with a minute to go against Michigan State in the First Four. At that point, their season was dangling by a thread. Who would have ever thought they’d come this far?
The Bruins have not only won four straight, their last three wins have been by comfortable margins. As a matter of fact, they haven’t won by less than double-digits, although that’s a tad misleading. They won their first two Tournament games comfortably but their win over No. 2 Alabama required overtime. In that extra frame, though, they easily cruised to a 10-point win.
UCLA has done a fantastic job defensively in the tournament – especially protecting the three. None of their opponents have shot better than 33.3% from beyond the arc. That defense will have to be on-point on Tuesday as the Wolverines are well-balanced. The good news is that they are without Isaiah Livers, which makes the Bruins job a little easier.
When the Wolverines lost star forward Isaiah Livers, many felt that they were in trouble. After all, the senior scores 13.1 points per game – second on the team and shoots a healthy 43.1% from three. However, the Wolverines have flashed their balance since as they haven’t really missed a beat. Many felt No. 6 LSU could put a scare into Michigan but the Wolverines won by eight and then again, lots of bettors felt Big Blue was going to be vulnerable against No. 4 Florida State but Michigan won by 18.
Overall, it really does feel like UCLA will be in over their heads in this one. The Bruins have played perfect basketball so far to get here but they’re going to need to outdo what they’ve done already to beat Michigan. Unless the Wolverines have a terrible night on the glass and with turnovers, they’ll win and advance.
Bruins vs. Wolverines Prediction: Wolverines 72, UCLA 68
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