NCAA Tournament Final Four: (11) UCLA (22-9) vs (1) Gonzaga (30-0) prediction and college basketball game preview.
UCLA vs Gonzaga Broadcast
Date: Saturday, April 3
Game Time: 8:34 pm ET
Venue: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN
UCLA vs Gonzaga Game Preview
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Why Gonzaga Will Win
USC had the exact right type of team to give Gonzaga problems – the length, the experience, the defense, the style – and it didn’t matter a lick.
The Bulldogs got up fast, rolled to an 85-66 win that wasn’t even that close, and the steady dominance that made this season so amazing continued into the Final Four.
USC supposedly had the inside presence to be a defensive problem – Drew Timme scored 23.
USC supposedly had the ability to hang around on the boards – Gonzaga won the rebounding margin by 12.
There’s no panic in this Gonzaga team, it can manufacture points inside and out, and it doesn’t have any one flaw to exploit. Few teams move the ball around better and more efficiently, few teams are able to lock down as well defensively inside and out, and few teams are better at scoring in a hurry in transition off the steal.
Either Gonzaga has to beat itself with the type of performance it hadn’t shown all year, or else UCLA has to show off an even greater defensive performance than it showed against Michigan.
Gonzaga isn’t going to make just 39% of its shots and it’s not going to be held scoreless from the field over the last five minutes.
Why UCLA Will Win
Defense, defense, defense.
UCLA was struggling a bit defensively coming into the tournament, but it was able to crank the intensity up to a whole other level when it absolutely had to.
In overtime against Alabama, the D triggered the big run from the O. Late against Michigan, it held firm over the final few minutes – and, okay, it caught a few nice breaks from missed Wolverine shots, too.
It’s going to take a perfect game pitched by the defense, a whole lot stronger a performance from the offensive side than it showed against Michigan, and it’s going to take the right attitude.
UCLA isn’t going to think this way, but it’s an 11-seed play-in team. It’s playing with house money, and it’s supposed to get blown out by a high-powered Gonzaga team that’s looking untouchable.
The pressure is all on the other side, but …
What’s Going To Happen
This is a high-powered Gonzaga team that’s looking untouchable for a reason.
Jalen Suggs is only a freshman, but he’s playing like a seasoned veteran who doesn’t make mistakes as the perfect quarterback for this group of star talents. the size, the versatility, and the steadiness are all showing through this run.
UCLA was able to stall a high-powered Alabama team, it all but shut down the explosive Wolverines, and it stuffed a BYU squad that came the close to giving Gonzaga problems. It’s used to stopping unstoppable offenses, but it’s not going to have the scoring consistency needed to pull it off.
The Bruins will avoid the knockout punch two minutes in like USC suffered, but it’s coming.
It won’t be a walk in the park, but the methodical greatness of Gonzaga will motor on through to the national championship game.
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UCLA vs Gonzaga Prediction, Line
Gonzaga 84, UCLA 68
Line: Gonzaga -13.5, o/u: 145
ATS Confidence out of 5: 3
Must See Rating: 5
5: Baseball in the middle of summer
1: Baseball in April