UCLA vs Saint Mary’s prediction: NCAA Tournament Second Round pick and college basketball game preview.
UCLA vs Saint Mary’s Game Preview, NCAA Tournament Second Round How To Watch
Date: Saturday, March 19
Game Time: 7:10 pm
Venue: Moda Center, Portland, OR
How To Watch: TBS
Records: UCLA (4 seed, 26-7)
Saint Mary’s (5 seed, 26-7)
Why Saint Mary's Will Win
You want to play a tough, grinding, defensive game that’s going to come down to consistency and execution?
Saint Mary’s 82, Indiana 53.
The Hoosiers weren’t explosive offensively, but they were great on the defensive side tough against the three, and good enough on the defensive boards to force a slew of one-and-dones. Saint Mary’s blew threw all of that, but with its offense.
It’s not that the Gaels can’t score, it’s that they don’t do anything to push the tempo to get out of the rhythm of what the defense brings. Against Indiana, though, there was a chance to land a knockout punch, and they threw it with 21 threes – hitting ten – and the D did the rest.
UCLA isn’t going to crank up the offense, either. It likes to use its talent, size, and experience to win the half court battles, and …
Why UCLA Will Win
It hits its free throws.
UCLA might have needed to scratch and claw to get past Akron 57-53, but it stopped the three and overcame a bad shooting day overall with 11 free throws in the 13 attempts.
The eight threes helped – it’s not that the Bruins can’t shoot and make threes, it’s that they don’t rely on them.
This is the Saint Mary’s Achilles heel. It makes them when it takes them, but considering its style and low scoring tempo, it’s a problem that it shoots among the fewest number of free throws in college basketball.
UCLA vs Saint Mary's: What’s Going To Happen
Okay, okay … big, giant whiff thinking Indiana was going to get by Saint Mary’s in the first round, but let’s try this again.
Both teams play similar styles, but UCLA is better at it – and it’s certainly stronger than IU was.
That’s not to say Saint Mary’s can’t win this.
You don’t hold down Gonzaga to under 70 points in three games – and winning one of them 74-58 – without knowing how to make teams play your style, but the problem is that UCLA loves to grind.
It’s got the veterans – helped immensely by the unflappable Tyger Campbell running the attack – to settle everything down just when it seems like everything is about to spin out of control.
Again, the free throws.
UCLA will shoot about 20-to-23, Saint Mary’s will shoot about 13-to-16.
UCLA vs Saint Mary's Prediction: NCAA Tournament Second Round, Lines
Prediction: UCLA 66, Saint Mary’s 62
Line: UCLA -3, o/u: 126
ATS Confidence out of 5: 1.5
UCLA vs Saint Mary’s Must See Rating: 4.5
5: Winning one game in the NCAA Tournament
1: Winning a conference championship … if you don’t win one game in the NCAA Tournament