NCAA Tournament Second Round: (A) UCLA (19-9) vs (A) Abilene Christian (24-4) prediction and college basketball game preview.
UCLA vs Abilene Christian Broadcast
Date: Monday, March 22
Game Time: 5:15 pm ET
Venue: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
UCLA vs Abilene Christian Game Preview
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Why Abilene Christian Will Win
The Wildcats never blinked in the 53-52 win over Texas.
They made the free throws for the win. They kept on pressing even with the the Texas offense making 45% of its shots from the field. They lead the nation in turnovers forced and are second in steals, and they forced 23 Texas turnovers.
When in doubt, ACU can rely on its nasty defense that allows teams to score just 60 points and hit 40% per game, and it’s got just enough burst to finish most of those forced mistakes with points.
Why UCLA Will Win
It’s a lazy cliché to suggest that a team is winning because it’s playing hard, or even worse, wants it more. It’s the NCAA Tournament. Everyone is playing hard. Everyone wants it more, and …
UCLA seemed like it played harder than Michigan State and UCLA, and it certainly seemed like it wanted it more.
Neither of those things are true – the Bruins lost the rebounding battle to BYU and Michigan State was certainly scrapping and fighting – but they’re playing a fearless brand of basketball with the energy to get out on the BYU outside shooters and keep them to 3-of-17 from three. They kept coming even after the Spartans started to look like they were about to take over their First Four game.
Abilene Christian might play a nasty brand of defense, but it turns the ball over a ton, and UCLA doesn’t. It commits a whole lot of fouls, isn’t great on the defensive boards, and the finish of that Texas game aside, it’s not good enough from the free throw line.
What’s Going To Happen
UCLA isn’t turning the ball over 23 times, but that partly means it’s going to play a bit slower and a bit more under control.
Abilene Christian will keep the pressure on from three, and it’ll move the ball around well enough to create a whole slew of open shots. Even though it’s what it does, ACU won’t get all of the mistakes it needs.
And it’s not going to make 10-of-12 free throws again.
The Bruins will have to grind it out, but with Johnny Juzang looking just fine after that ankle injury against Michigan State, and with Jaime Jaquez playing well, the scoring will come when needed to push ahead late in the second half.
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UCLA vs Abilene Christian Prediction, Line
UCLA 73, Abilene Christian 67
Bet on college basketball with BetMGM
Line: UCLA -4.5, o/u: 132.5
ATS Confidence out of 5: 3.5
Must See Rating: 3.5
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