UCLA vs. Alabama Predictions & Sweet 16 Picks: Tide To Beat Bruins
The #2 seed Alabama face #15 UCLA in this Sweet 16 clash, which will take place on Sunday in Hinkle Fieldhouse, with tip-off set for 7:15pm ET.
Alabama are favorites with the bookies, as you'd expect given their seeding, with the Bruins 6.5 point underdogs.
UCLA have reached the Sweet 16 by causing two upsets, beating 6th ranked BYU and 14th ranked Abilene Christian on the way, with margins of 11 and 20 points. They've outperformed their ranking but facing Alabama will be a real step up.
The Crimson Tide have already beaten a #15 seed, when they defeated Iona 65-55 in the First Round. They followed that with victory over Maryland and will be confident in progressing to the Elite Eight here.
Our odds grid here tell the story, with Alabama clear favorites. They're -250 on the moneyline, as you'd expect given that they were seeded #2, with UCLA being ranked #11. Bama's -250 odds imply a 71.4% chance that they win.
Being 6.5 point favorites underlines just how dominant Alabama should be, but the Crimson Tide will need to produce in order to cover here.
Read our excellent Sweet 16 Preview from our team of professional handicappers and experts - CLICK HERE
UCLA vs. Alabama Against The Spread Pick
The Bruins have been impressive so far but UCLA will be taking a serious leap in opposition on Sunday. Alabama are a far superior side than UCLA, as shown by KenPom ratings, which have the Crimson Tide at 8th overall, compared to UCLA's 33rd spot. They're also ranked 2nd in defense, which is going to be the real difference maker on the day.
Te Bruins have played well so far, they're a physical team but they're going to need to use every bit of that every Alabama who are one of the best rebounding teams in the competition. UCLA have been spreading the scoring around with 5 players into double digits PPG, and Johnny Juzang, the top scorer, avergaing 15 points. Jaden Shackelford is only marginally behind with 14.1ppg but he bounced back against Maryland after a poor opener against Iona.
If he, and the rest of the Tide, show up on Sunday then the Bruins don't stand a chance. Unfortunately for UCLA I think they will. This is an elite defense and if they strangle the Bruins then it'll give their offense the platform to put the game out of sight.
Alabama have a real shot of making the Final Four, as discussed in our Sweet 16 Preview, and they'll win here, and I believe cover this spread