UCLA vs. Northwestern in March Madness: Betting odds, predictions

UCLA performed its standard model of smothering protection in a win over North Carolina Asheville within the first spherical. It’s no shock they bottled up a mid-major program to get March Madness began. Nevertheless, the true take a look at begins towards Northwestern. The Wildcats scored 75 factors in a first-round win towards Boise State, and so they have professional firepower out of the backcourt.

With Jaylen Clark out for the Bruins, it’ll be fascinating to see how UCLA’s protection holds up towards higher competitors. Clark was among the best defenders in faculty basketball, and he had the power to test guards and smaller wings. With out him, the Bruins don’t have the identical defensive versatility. He was additionally a dependable third offensive possibility.

With out Clark within the fold, the Bruins are going to have a more durable time defending Northwestern’s Boo Buie, Chase Audige and Ty Berry, who mixed to attain 55 factors towards Boise State. UCLA has defensive perimeter choices, however Northwestern is deep with contributors and the Bruins being down one isn’t excellent.

Northwestern is 8-1 towards the unfold when enjoying away from dwelling this season. The Wildcats aren’t going to be too uncomfortable on this neutral-court setting, and a few of their gunners may embrace the state of affairs. Buie is able to swinging a event recreation together with his skill to attain.

UCLA does have Jaime Jaquez Jr. to lean on, and his skill to execute within the mid-post space is a invaluable security blanket for the Bruins. That’s one thing coach Mick Cronin can all the time rely on, and Northwestern doesn’t actually have large males that may guard him — or tire him out on the opposite finish of the ground. Jaquez’s skill to attain contained in the three-point line might make all of the distinction. Each groups wish to play sluggish, however UCLA is healthier at executing within the half court docket due to Jaquez’s endurance.

Maybe the Bruins’ skill to win grind-it-out video games will drive Northwestern coach Chris Collins to open issues up extra. Northwestern might strive three-point photographs and hope for the perfect. They’re higher off doing one thing like that than enjoying to UCLA’s strengths. Nevertheless, the oddsmakers set a low whole on this one, so a perimeter-shooting technique may not be practical.

How one can watch UCLA vs. Northwestern

When: Saturday, 5:40 p.m. PDT

The place: Sacramento

TV / Streaming: TNT / marchmadness.com; Paramount+

Odds for UCLA vs. Northwestern

Unfold: UCLA -8

Complete: 127.5

For extra sports activities betting content material, take a look at www.VSiN.com. Signal as much as be a subscriber at VSiN.com/subscribe.