Is No. 3 UCLA A Winning Pick For 2017 NCAA Championship?

Posted by Eric Williams on Thursday,March 9, 2017 2:52, EST in

The high-scoring, third-ranked UCLA Bruins (28-3, 16-15 ATS) have undoubtedly been one of the nation’s most exciting teams in the country this season. With a loaded roster that includes a Player of the Year candidate in freshman point guard Lonzo Ball, the Bruins are definitely looking to win this season’s national championship.

If you want to find out whether the Bruins are really a winning pick to bag this season’s national championship, let’s find out more about the current NCAA point spreads.

Is No. 3 UCLA A Winning Pick For 2017 NCAA Championship?

 

 

National Championship Odds

UCLA 9/1

The Good

The Bruins have won a whopping nine straight games heading into the Pac-12 championship tournament while beating Oregon and Arizona along the way. UCLA ranks first in the nation in scoring (91.3 ppg) and first in field goal shooting percentage (52.%) and is one of the few teams in the country to have a whopping six double digit scorers on their roster.

The UCLA Bruins have a sweet-shooter in senior guard Bryce Alford (16.5 ppg) and two of the most talented freshmen in the nation in forward T.J. Leaf (16.3 ppg) and floor leader, Lonzo Ball (14.9 ppg, 7.8 apg, 6.2 rpg).

The Bad

There’s a bit of ‘bad’ for the Bruins as well, seeing as how they rank an uninspiring 251st nationally in points allowed (75.0 ppg) and 237th in three-point field goal defense (35.9%). UCLA also isn’t very deep outside of their top six players with no other Bruin contributing more than 4.9 points per game. The Bruins are also just mediocre at the free throw line as they make just 73.6 percent of their free throw attempts to rank 66th nationally. UCLA also didn’t play the best competition round this season with a non-conference schedule that included just one game against a nationally-ranked opponent (Kentucky).

The Bottom Line

I’ll get right to the point by saying that I like UCLA to reach the Final Four at the very least and I fully believe they are worthy of  wager to win the 2017 national championship. I know the Bruins aren’t the best defensive team around, nor do they shoot free throws very well, but UCLA can simply outscore the majority of teams they’ll face during March Madness and I believe they will.

One thing that could derail the Bruins is Lonzo Ball’s loud-mouthed dad, LaVar. I believe that the elder Ball’s now, highly-publicized statements about how good his son is will cause UCLA’s opponents to give Ball a bit of ‘extra’ attention and possibly a couple of cheap shots before March madness is complete. I men, when you’re bragging about your child being better than the Golden State Warriors’ Steph Curry, that will make any opponent go all out to shut down the Bruins gifted floor leader.