Michigan vs UCLA Prediction, Game Preview: NCAA Tournament Elite Eight

Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan vs UCLA Prediction, Game Preview: NCAA Tournament Elite Eight

College Football Predictions

Michigan vs UCLA Prediction, Game Preview: NCAA Tournament Elite Eight


NCAA Tournament Elite Eight: (1) Michigan (23-4) vs (11) UCLA (21-9) prediction and college basketball game preview.

Michigan vs UCLA Broadcast

Date: Tuesday, March 30
Game Time: 9:57 pm ET
Venue: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN
Network: CBS

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Michigan vs UCLA Game Preview

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Why UCLA Will Win

Is there any team outside of Gonzaga playing with more confidence?

Alabama hit what appeared to be a soul-crushing three to force overtime, and all the Bruins did was roar back with 23 points in five minutes for an 88-78 victory.

It helped that Bama couldn’t hit a free throw to save its season/life, but the Bruins kept attacking, kept making their own free throws, and they kept this improbable run going by – to get weird about this – playing next-level tough and hard.

For all of the good things that Michigan does, it’s possible to provide a push if the threes are falling. The Wolverine defense might be fantastic, but Ohio State was able to get hot from the outside in a win a few weeks ago and Michigan State did just enough to get by in a shocker.

Over the last eight games, Michigan is 5-0 when holding teams to under 35% from three and 0-3 when it doesn’t.

UCLA has hit the 35% mark from three in each of its last four games – all in the tournament – and in eight of its last ten.

Why Michigan Will Win

Michigan isn’t going to miss its free throws.

UCLA obliterated Abilene Christian – so the misses from the line didn’t matter – but the Wildcats made just 46% of their free throws. BYU made only 56%, and Alabama was a disaster making just 44%.

Michigan was awful on the line against Florida State – making just 65% – and was miserable from three and yet still one in a 76-58 breeze. On the year, the Wolverines make 78% of their free throws and were hot coming into the FSU game – the missed shots didn’t matter.

The Wolverines are in total command of their game. They’re defending well inside and out, they’re doing a fantastic job on the boards, and they were able to force Florida State to get out of their normal rhythm and force too many bad shots.

UCLA might have cranked up its production, but it’s normally not all that great from three, it’s not that great at guarding the three, and it doesn’t do enough to take the ball away.

However …

What’s Going To Happen

Alabama should’ve been the perfect team to beat UCLA with the way it jacks up lots and lots and lots of threes, but it takes them without always making them.

Michigan doesn’t shoot a whole lot from the outside, but when it does, they usually go in.

Pick against the Pac-12 at your own risk in this tournament, but the Bruins have been able to rise up by making just about everything inside and on the move. They haven’t gone under 40% from the field since early February, and even then that was an aberration for a team that makes 46% of its shots.

The Michigan defense will take care of that.

Florida State hit 40% and it didn’t matter a lick. The Wolverines aren’t going to turn the ball over enough to lead to fast break points – the 14 turnovers by Bama were a killer – and the offense will find a groove inside and out early in the second half on the way to the Final Four.

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Michigan vs UCLA Prediction, Line

Michigan 76, UCLA 68
Bet on college basketball with BetMGM

Line: Michigan -7.5, o/u: 137
ATS Confidence out of 5: 3

Must See Rating: 5

5: Howard Schnellenberger
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