UCLA vs UNC Prediction: Can the Bruins Make It Back to the Elite 8?

The UCLA Bruins take on the UNC Tar Heels in the Sweet 16. Which basketball powerhouse will come out on top? Can UCLA make it back to the Elite 8? Matt McCuen takes you through the matchup and shares his pick.
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UCLA vs UNC Prediction: Can the Bruins Make It Back to the Elite 8?

The UCLA Bruins will take on the North Carolina Tar Heels in a Sweet 16 affair. These two teams have a lot of trophies in their trophy cases over the years. This is a true blue blood battle between two great programs. These teams rank number one and number three when it comes to all-time championships. The Bruins have the most all-time with eleven, while the Tarheels are third all-time winning six national championships. Needles to say, this game should be a lot of fun.

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The Tarheels are the surprise team here as they are fresh off a wild win over the Baylor Bears. It took everything they had to knock off the defending national champs, but they were able to do it in overtime. UNC has two of the top big men in the nation in Armando Bacot and sharpshooter big man Brady Manek. The guard play for UNC has been outstanding this tournament, thanks to Caleb Love and RJ Davis. This is not a deep UNC tram by any means. Their starters will play essentially the whole game but their starters are hot at the moment, making them a dangerous team.

UCLA is looking to make back-to-back elite eight appearances led by head coach Mick Cronin. Johnny Juzang has been the best player for this team this season, but Jamie Jacquez has been the best player leading into the tournament. This is an experienced roster that is going to be a tough out for any team in the tournament. UCLA avoided a scare in the first round and then dominated St. Marys to get to the sweet 16. 

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I will be backing the short favorite here in UCLA because I believe this line is off. I have ridden UNC the first two games, but now I will have to fade the Heels. UCLA matches up well across the board, and the way this team can sit down and defend is the reason I love them. I believe in UCLA as a team due to their experience. They have been in these big moments before, and that will do them wonders moving forward in this tournament.

North Carolina has been hot, but I think people forget how bad this team can be on the defensive end. The styles of play here are night and day as UNC will look to turn this into a track meet similarly to what they did against Baylor. UCLA wants to play slower and win this game in the half-court, which I believe they will be able to do. My last point is that UCLA may want to press UNC a couple of times after seeing how they handled it against Baylor down the stretch! 

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UCLA Bruins vs UNC Tar Heels Pick:

Pick: UCLA -2 (-110) (Bet $110 to Win $100)

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Matt McCuen is a native of Delco, PA. He has been working in the sports gambling industry and creating content for the last few years. He is an expert in numerous different sports, including the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and collegiate sports. You can follow Matt on Twitter at @DeadPresPicks.

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