- West Coast powers UCLA, Gonzaga meet in an NCAA Tournament West Regional on Thursday, March 23
- No. 2 seed UCLA is a 1.5-point favorite over No. 3 seed Gonzaga at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas
- Read below for Gonzaga vs UCLA odds, analysis and predictions
No. 2 seed UCLA (31-5) is a 1.5-point favorite over Gonzaga in a West Region Sweet Sixteen game at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas at 9:45 pm ET on CBS. The Bruins have won 14 of 15, losing only to Arizona in the Pac-12 tourney finals.
No. 3 seed Gonzaga (30-5) has won 11 in a row since a Feb. 4 overtime loss at Saint Mary’s. The Bulldogs advanced to their eighth straight Sweet Sixteen straight appearance with an 87-84 victory over TCU.
Gonzaga vs UCLA Odds
|Gonzaga Bulldogs||+1.5 (-112)||+100||Over 145.5 (-110)|
|UCLA Bruins||-1.5 (-108)||-120||Under 145.5 (-110)|
Gonzaga is 5-2 SU and ATS in the previous seven series meetings, including the 93-90 overtime victory in the NCAA Elite Eight in 2021 on Jalen Suggs’ mid-court three-pointer at the buzzer. The winner advances to play either UConn or Arkansas in the West Region final of the March Madness bracket.
This game comes on the 17th anniversary of the Bruins’ 73-71 2006 Sweet Sixteen victory over the Zags in Oakland, Calif., when the Bruins scored the final 11 points in the last 3:13. UCLA followed with victories over Memphis and LSU before losing to Florida in the championship game.
The Bruins are 21-13-2 ATS this season, 4-3-1 at a neutral site. Gonzaga is 13-20-1 ATS, 3-8 at a neutral site. The Bulldogs are 20-14 against the over. UCLA is 18-18 in that spot.
UCLA Still Winning, Hurting
The Bruins continue to win as players continue to go down. The latest unwanted blow came late in the Bruins’ 69-63 victory over Northwestern, when senior guard and leader David Singleton suffered a right ankle sprain with 20.3 seconds remaining after his three-pointer gave UCLA a 62-56 lead at 1:50. Coach Mick Cronin offered no update on Singleton or center Adem Bona on Thursday.
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) March 19, 2023
The Bruins have been without Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year Jaylen Clark the last five games, after he suffered a season-ending Achilles injury in a 82-73 victory over Arizona in the final game of the regular season. Freshman Bona missed two games with a shoulder injury before returning against Northwestern, and his block on Chase Audige’s drive led to Singleton’s key three against the Wildcats.
The anchors remain — seniors forward Jaime Jaquez Jr. (17.5 points, 8.1 rebounds) and point guard Tyger Campbell (13.4 points 4.9 assists) have led the Bruins three straight Sweet Sixteens, including that spot in the 2021 Final Four. Jaquez had 24 points, eight rebounds and four assists against Northwestern and Campbell had 12 points and seven assists. Jaquez had 41 points and 16 rebounds in two NCAA games. Campbell has 19 points and 17 assists and only two turnovers, although he is only 2 of 16 from the field in the tourney. Amari Bailey, considered the bests NBA prospect on the team, had 31 points, eight rebounds and 12 assists last weekend while filling the void.
Gonzaga Makes It an Eight-Peat
Gonzaga is making its eighth straight appearance in the Sweet Sixteen behind Naismith Player of the Year finalist Drew Timme, who has played in the last four and been a key contributor in the last three. The Zags now have the longest active Sweet Sixteen run in Division I now that Kansas suffered a second-round loss to Arkansas. The Zags win as they always do, with an up-tempo offense that makes the next pass and can score from inside (Timme) and out.
Gonzaga leads Division I in scoring (87.3 points per game), field goal percentage (52.6) and effective field goal percentage (58.9) and naturally first in KenPom adjusted offensive efficiency. Timme (21.1 points, 7.3 rebounds) and All-WCC first-team wing Julian Strawther (15.3 points, 6.1 rebounds, 77 three-pointers) are the go-tos.
Drew Timme joined some great company Sunday night 🙌 pic.twitter.com/3230wWwanE
— NCAA March Madness (@MarchMadnessMBB) March 21, 2023
Timme has 49 points and 14 rebounds in the first two NCAA games, and Strawther has 38 points and 19 rebounds. Timme made his third three-pointer of the season during a 13-1 run that gave Gonzaga a seven-point lead over TCU with nine minutes left. Other than those two, the ball finds the open man depending on opponents’ coverage plans. Forward Anton Watson has 23 points and 23 rebounds in the first two NCAA games. Guard Rasir Bolton had 17 points against TCU. The Zags have benefitted from impeccable health. Mark Few has used the same starting lineup in 34 games.
Gonzaga vs UCLA Prediction
The game features a marked difference in styles. UCLA wins with ball control and defense; Gonzaga relies on a relentless offense that attacks opponents in waves and counts on that three- or four-minute spurt to seize control. The Bruins held Northwestern to 1 of 12 from the field in a decisive stretch late, and that will be their m.o. again here.
Each team is among the Division I leaders in fewest turnovers, but UCLA also is among the leaders in turnovers forced. TCU ran out of big men to contest Timme, but UCLA has more options inside, starting with the aggressive Bona. Timme is the seventh player to record nine 20-point games in the NCAA Tournament. Even if he stretches that to 10 here, the Bruins will have enough answers. Take the better overall team.
- Pick: UCLA -1.5 (-108)
- Season CBK: 50-27
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