North Carolina vs UCLA prediction: NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 pick and college basketball game preview.
North Carolina vs UCLA Game Preview, How To Watch
Date: Friday, March 25
Game Time: 9:39 pm
Venue: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
How To Watch: CBS
Records: North Carolina (8 seed, 26-9)
UCLA (4 seed, 27-7)
Why North Carolina Will Win
When this team is on, forget it.
Of course every great team is amazing when everything is going right, but North Carolina has a whole other level of dominance it gets to when the momentum is going its way.
Gonzaga and Arizona are the only teams left in this thing that can hit throttle up like the Tar Heels can with a combination of talent, shooting inside and out, and transition points coming off the defensive boards.
UCLA is strong on the glass, but North Carolina is special – it came up with 40 rebounds or more in five of the last seven games. UCLA got to the 40 mark just six times this season.
Lots of teams can get past a mediocre shooting day, but UCLA can’t be anything but hot in this – it’s not going to get second chance points.
The Bruins are 22-0 when shooting 43% or better and 5-7 when it doesn’t. North Carolina has allowed teams to hit 42.8% of its shots on the year and with three of the last four teams not getting to 36%.
That includes …
Why UCLA Will Win
Yeah, North Carolina is amazing when it has everything going its way, but it also has a funky way of inexplicably crashing hard when the momentum swings the other way.
Baylor in the final ten minutes of regulation in the wild 93-86 overtime win showed the other side of the Tar Heels. They finished with 18 turnovers, couldn’t come up with enough defensive stops until overtime, and almost blew their big lead by not being able to easily break the press or stop the overall momentum.
Virginia Tech got hot right away in the ACC Championship win, and North Carolina’s energy went bye-bye.
A bad Pitt team beat the Tar Heels when it was red hot from the field, Duke won the first meeting between the two when it made 58% of its shots, and …
North Carolina is 0-6 when teams hit 51% of their shots. UCLA was 57% against Saint Mary’s and got to the 50% mark ten times this season.
It’s a veteran Bruin team that’s not going to be the slightest bit fazed by North Carolina’s size or streakiness. It’s not going to give the ball up enough for the Tar Heels to get on the move, the defense was the best in the Pac-12, and …
North Carolina vs UCLA: What’s Going To Happen
To hammer this point home way too hard, UCLA has to hit its shots.
It’s got the defense to frustrate North Carolina at times, but it’s not going to win the battle on the boards and it’s got to be fearless both inside and out.
But it doesn’t make enough threes.
For all the offensive firepower UCLA has, it’s the defense that wins games. However, again, only Gonzaga and Arizona have the all-around ability to take things up a notch like North Carolina does.
UCLA beat Arizona when it hit half of its shots, and lost the two other times when it didn’t. It also got rolled by 20 agains Gonzaga when it couldn’t keep up.
North Carolina might just end up in the Final Four with those No. 1 seeds.
North Carolina vs UCLA Prediction: NCAA Tournament Sweet 16, Lines
Prediction: North Carolina 73, UCLA 71
Line: UCLA -2, o/u: 141.5
ATS Confidence out of 5: 2
North Carolina vs UCLA Must See Rating: 5
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