#11 UCLA vs #2 Alabama

#11 UCLA vs #2 Alabama | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

Written by on March 26, 2021

No. 11 UCLA barely got into this NCAA Tournament, but the Bruins are the only team that has won three times in the 2021 Big Dance. However, they are solid underdogs on the NCAAB odds in Sweet 16 action on Sunday against No. 2 Alabama.

How to Bet UCLA vs. Alabama NCAA Basketball Odds & TV Info

Last Meeting

UCLA is 3-2 all-time vs. Alabama but the Tide one the most recent matchup, 56-50, in December 2014. The Bruins won the three games before that, all played in California.

Why Bet on UCLA? | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

UCLA (20-9) made its last Sweet 16 appearance in 2017. Second-year coach Mick Cronin has the Bruins hot at the right time, and they are one of four Pac-12 teams playing in the second weekend.

Cronin’s squad entered the NCAA tournament on a four-game losing streak. Overall, the team was 4-5 in its nine games prior to the one-site affair in Indiana. Since then, the Bruins have defeated Michigan State (by six points, in overtime), BYU (11 points) and Abilene Christian (20 points).  The Bruins also made 43% of their 3-point attempts in the Big Dance.

In the 67-47 win over No. 14 Abilene Christian, sophomore guard Johnny Juzang, who averaged 25.0 points and 4.5 rebounds in the team’s first two wins of the tournament, continued his hot play. He scored a game-high 17 points on 7 of 15 shooting from the field, including 3 of 7 from behind the 3-point arc. Junior forward Cody Riley (12 points, 12 rebounds) and sophomore guard Jaime Jaquez Jr. (10 points) were the two other Bruins to score in double figures.

UCLA notched two substantial scoring runs against Abilene Christian, dominating the Wildcats in both the first and second half. After trailing 12-8 to start the game, the Bruins went on an 18-0 run to take a 26-12 lead. The Bruins run a methodical pace with the basketball, ranking 337th in tempo and eating up 18.8 seconds of shot clock per possession. They Bruins also take care of the basketball with turnovers on only 16.1 percent of possessions.

UCLA has recorded its 15th trip to the Sweet 16 since the tournament field expanded to 64 teams in 1985. Through those previous 14 appearances, the Bruins have posted a 6-8 record with four trips to the Final Four (1995, 2006, 2007 and 2008).

Why Bet on Alabama? | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

Alabama (26-6) is on an eight-game win streak that started before the SEC tournament. The Crimson Tide are looking for their first Elite Eight appearance since 2004.

Nate Oats’ squad put together one of the most impressive performances of the first and second rounds. Maryland is a solid Big Ten team, but Alabama played at a different level in a 96-77 win over the Terps in Round 2 Monday. It was the most points Maryland has allowed under Mark Turgeon and the most points the program has surrendered in regulation since 2009. It was Alabama’s fourth time scoring at least 80 points during its current eight-game winning streak.

Alabama was led by Jaden Shackelford’s 21 points and five three-pointers while John Petty Jr. knocked down four threes on his way to collecting 20 points and six boards. Guard Jahvon Quinerly recorded his first career double-double with 14 points and a career-best 11 assists, the most assists in a game this season by any Tide player. Forward Alex Reese had 13 points and five boards, while guard Joshua Primo returned from an MCL injury to collect 10 points and four rebounds in 23 minutes of action.

The Tide dominated the glass for a second consecutive NCAA Tournament game, owning a 40-19 advantage. After outrebounding Iona 42-26 in the first round, Alabama has combined to own an 82-45 advantage on the glass

The 96 points scored by Alabama tied for the third-most points in an NCAA Tournament game in program history, matching the 96 points vs. Wake Forest on March 17, 1991. UA has now made 341 three-pointers in 961 attempts this season, which breaks the school record set by last year’s team (334-of-957).

The Tide push the ball in transition, where they attempt 34.5 percent of their shots, and let it fly from beyond the arc, picking up 39.7 percent of their total points scored from distance. Quinerly, a former five-star recruit who began his career at Villanova, has emerged as a consistent scorer for the Crimson Tide with 14 consecutive games with 10 points or more.

Herbert Jones is one of four players from around the country who has been named as a finalist for the 2021 Naismith Defensive Player of the Year Award. He leads the team in rebounding (6.5 rpg), steals (1.8 spg), deflections (106), floor dives (21) and blocked shots (1.1 bpg), while ranking second in charges taken (13).

Game Trends

  • Bruins are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
  • Bruins are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
  • Bruins are 9-3 ATS in their last 12 games as an underdog.
  • Crimson Tide are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games as a favorite.
  • Crimson Tide are 23-10 ATS in their last 33 games following a ATS win.

Expert Prediction

  • Alabama 78, UCLA 70
 
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