The UCLA Bruins continue their impressive run in a Sweet Sixteen showdown with the Alabama Crimson Tide. UCLA is rolling right now, winning their first three tournament games. They entered the first two games as underdogs and knocked off a championship contender in the BYU Cougars in the first round. They will now have their hands full with a Crimson Tide team that is deep and lethal. Alabama is hitting its stride with two double-digit victories in the tournament. It’s time to continue the NCAA odds series and make a UCLA-Alabama prediction and pick.
Here is how the sportsbooks set the odds for this game.
NCAA Odds: UCLA-Alabama Odds
UCLA Bruins +6.5 (-105)
Alabama Crimson Tide -6.5 (-115)
Over 145 (-115)
Under 145 (-105)
Why UCLA Could Cover the Spread
UCLA is having a great run in the tournament and looks like a Cinderella contender. The Bruins pulled off upset wins against the Michigan State Spartans and BYU Cougars before blowing out the ACU Wildcats in the round of 32. The Bruins beat the Wildcats by 20 points on 47% shooting from the field. They were led by superstar Johnny Juzang. Juzang put up 17 points in the win and has had an amazing tournament thus far. UCLA also grabbed 42 boards in the win, which was a great sign for a team that has struggled on the boards of late.
Second-year head coach Mick Cronin is making huge strides. He has his squad playing incredibly efficient basketball on both ends of the floor. The Bruins finished the season as the 34th-best team in 3-point shooting and the 26th-best team in defensive rebounding. Depth has been a huge strength as five players are averaging double figures. With an explosive backcourt, physicality in the frontcourt will be the key for UCLA.
Why Alabama Could Cover the Spread
The Alabama Crimson Tide are having one of their best seasons in recent history. This team possesses the second-best record since 1986 and will look to continue a historic season with a bid to the Elite Eight. Following two double-digit victories to open the tournament, Alabama is in a great spot to continue its success against the Bruins. They average 40.5 rebounds per game and have a clear advantage on the boards. They will look to abuse UCLA down low and muscle their way to victory.
Alabama is led by its two-headed monster in Jaden Shackleford and John Petty Jr. Shackleford and Petty combined for 41 points on 15-26 shooting in the second-round win against the Maryland Terrapins. Four players on this Crimson Tide squad have averaged double figures in 2021. Alabama has been dominant on both ends of the floor all year. The Crimson Tide will turn to Petty and Herb Jones down low and hope they can bully the Bruins. This is where they will possess the biggest advantage.
Final UCLA-Alabama Prediction & Pick
I have loved watching UCLA play in the tournament this far and hope to see the Bruins come out with the same energy that they had in their last three games. They have played electrifying basketball and have the potential to stick around with anyone. Alabama is having a historic season and has a more balanced attack, though. I see the difference coming down low where Alabama possesses a big advantage. The Crimson Tide will be able to control the pace of play and shoot at a higher clip. Play good defense, grab the boards, and get out in transition will be the game plan for the Crimson Tide en route to a victory and ticket to the Elite Eight.
FINAL PICK: Alabama -6.5 (-115)