Two teams are officially Final Four schools, as the Houston Cougars and Baylor Bears will be moving on to the next round. We had to hold our breath, but Baylor came through to cover the 7.5 points. Baylor took a commanding lead early in the first-half, at one point they were up by 18 points. However, the resilient Razorbacks clawed back to make things interesting.
They were never able to take the lead, though, and every time Arkansas tried to get within a hoop of Baylor, the Bears resisted and pulled away to get more comfortable. The same essentially happened in the Oregon State and Houston game. Houston had a comfortable lead, then allowed the pesky Beavers to stage a near comeback. Closing out good teams like the Cougars and Bears can be awfully tough.
We have two more Elite Eight matchups on Tuesday night, with USC and Gonzaga meeting in the early contest, while the UCLA Bruins and Michigan Wolverines close out the round in the late night game. UCLA knocked off Alabama in a thriller on Sunday evening. After Alabama hit a three at the buzzer to sink my UNDER, tough beat, UCLA poured it on for 5 minutes with 23 points to clear Alabama by a score of 88-78. Jules Bernard and Jaime Jaquez Jr. both had big games for the Bruins, as they scored 17 points each.
They are going to need a big game from a few players to upend the Wolverines on Tuesday night. The third person is likely going to have to be forward Cody Riley. He must find a way to slow down Hunter Dickinson in the paint or the Bruins will get behind in this one. Dickinson has the talent to take a game over, and if the Bruins are getting roughed up in the paint, it’s good night time for the Bruins.
Michigan got to the Elite Eight with a blowout over Florida State, 76-58. Not sure what all the love for Florida State was about, but it allowed me to get the Wolverines at -2, so that was nice. Dickinson and Brandon Johns. Jr both scored 14 points for the Wolverines in the win over the Seminoles. Head below for our free UCLA vs. Michigan pick on March 30, 2021.
UCLA Bruins (11) vs. Michigan Wolverines (1) Elite Eight Betting Odds:
UCLA vs. Michigan Prediction:
UCLA can’t sit back and let the game come to them in this game. They were able to play their game and set up their offense against a spotty defense like Alabama, but Michigan will force the Bruins to work. Defense turns into offense for Michigan, who has one of the more efficient offenses in the NCAA. That’s where this game could easily develop into a blowout. Michigan can adapt offensively and put up points from a multitude of angles.
If they want to go into the paint or pull up from the perimeter, the Wolverines can be tough to cover. Michigan is 12th in the NCAA with a 48.8% field goal percentage. They can hit from deep as well, with a three-point percentage of 38.6% for 12th. And very important at this time of the year, Michigan knows how to convert at the charity stripe. Michigan is shooting 76.5% from the free-throw line.
Overall on the season, the Wolverines have scored an average of 76.5 points per game. Through their previous five outings, they’ve netted 78 points per game and conceded 67.2 points a game. Florida State was the first team in five games not to score more than 65 points against the Wolverines. Michigan has a good defense, though not elite. On the season, Michigan has allowed 65.2 points per game. UCLA and Michigan have both been effective from the field offensively.
The Bruins are shooting 46.3% from the field for 67th in the NCAA, and are capable of shooting from deep, with a three-point percentage of 37.3%. UCLA is 143rd in the nation with 72.6 points per game. Michigan is likely to score consistently on Tuesday night, forcing UCLA to try to keep up. To an extent, they should be able to, though pulling off a straight up win will be tough. This selection is based on a total that I see as too low. 141 or 142 points I’m likely staying away, but 135.5 does provide some value. A final score of 72-67 or 78-70 wouldn’t be too surprising.