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UCLA vs. Alabama Predictions & March Madness Sweet 16 Picks: Bama Backed To Cover

NCAA Tournament handicapper Brandon Hurley is back with his expert pick for UCLA vs. Alabama in the Sweet 16 round at March Madness
Brandon Hurley
Fri, March 26, 6:11 AM EDT

March Madness Sweet 16 Picks

UCLA Bruins vs. Alabama Crimson Tide

Alabama is ranked 28th on offense and 3rd on defense, per KenPom. UCLA is ranked 12th on offense and 63rd on defense. UCLA comes into this matchup winning their last 3 tournament games. They beat 11 seed Michigan State, 6 seed BYU, and 14 seed Abilene Christian. UCLA has was very hot shooting in their first two games putting up 86 and 73 points. They came back down to earth percentage wise against a lessor opponent in their most recent win against Abilene Christian putting up 67 points. Alabama comes into this game winning their two tournament games against 15 seed Iona and 10 seed Maryland. Alabama struggled a lot in their first tournament game against Iona but ended up turning it on late in the second half to win easily. The Tide played a perfect game against Maryland in their most recent game and won 96-77.

This is a battle of two teams with different philosophies. Alabama plays fast ranking 11th in tempo while UCLA plays slow ranking 321st. I’m backing the fast tempo Crimson Tide to cover -6.5. They will be able to speed up UCLA and force them into uncomfortable offensive possessions with their length and havoc defense. Alabama ranks 66th in Defense turnover % and should be able to generate some turnovers against the Bruins. UCLA’s offense has been humming, but that athletic Alabama defense should be equipped to slow the Bruins down. Alabama ranks 8th defending the 3, 77th defending the 2, and 17th in Defense Effective FG %. UCLA ranks 28th in 3 point shooting %, 141st in 2 point shooting %, and 79th in Offense Effective FG %. Alabama’s defense is statistically better than UCLA’s offense in these main categories. Also, Alabama has one of the most explosive offenses in the country. Coach Nate Oats has brought his super fast paced offense with him from Buffalo and the Crimson Tide offense loves to run and gun. He always says he wants his team to attempt 30 or more 3 point shots a game. Alabama ranks 89th in 3 point shooting % while UCLA ranks 198th defending the 3. With a ton of 3 point attempts comes a lot of long rebounds and Alabama loves that too. The Crimson Tide rank 53rd in Offense Rebounding %. Alabama should be able to control the glass with 6’8 Forward Herbert Jones leading the charge.

At the end of the day, Nate Oats and his Alabama bunch should be able to control the tempo of this game with their pressure defense and rebounding. UCLA loves to shoot 3s and Alabama is very good defending the 3, so this should lead to run out opportunities on the miss for Alabama in transition. The athletes and 3 point shooting for Alabama will be too much for UCLA to overcome and their Cinderella run will come to end Sunday evening. Alabama -6.5 is the play. Roll Tide!

The Pick: Alabama -6.5 @ -110 (Click To Bet)

 

UCLA Bruins vs. Alabama Crimson Tide Betting Data 

Team Point Spread Moneyline
UCLA Bruins +6.5 +230
Alabama Crimson Tide -6.5 -250

Alabama have been a popular bet with OddsChecker's handicappers. Not only has Brandon picked them in this piece but earlier in the sweet they were also given as a pick by Drew Martin in our Sweet 16 preview, which you can view here

OddsChecker users also agree with our experts, 78% of wagers on the moneyline have been backing the Crimson Tide. Not only that but 62% of bets on the spread have been taking Bama -6.5. It's rare that all the sharps and the money point in the same direction, so this could be a game to wager on.

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NCAA Tournament Expert Picks

Alabama -6.5 @ -110 (Click To Bet)

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