Kentucky Wildcats vs. UCLA Bruins Preview
Where: FedEx Forum – Memphis, Tennessee
When: Friday, March 24, 2017, 9:39 PM ET
Line: Kentucky Wildcats (+1) vs. UCLA Bruins (-1); total: 165.5 – view all NCAA Basketball lines
TV Broadcast: CBS
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Betting on the Kentucky Wildcats (31-5)
The Kentucky defense has been superb. The Wildcats, who are priced at +1,400 to win the national title, held both Northern Kentucky and Wichita State below 40 percent shooting in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament.
However, there’s some concern with the current state of the offense, particularly because of Malik Monk. The freshman guard is only shooting 6-for-22 in the tournament thus far. His backcourt mate De’Aaron Fox can relate to this, too, as he went just 5-of-13 for 14 points in the win against the Shockers.
The Wildcats need either one of the two to regain their strokes to extend their season. If not, they’ll have to keep leaning on their defense to create scoring opportunities. They also have to win the rebounding battle to prevent any costly extra possessions for the opposing side. Kentucky allowed 14 offensive rebounds in the match with Wichita State.
Betting on the UCLA Bruins (31-4)
UCLA, which is priced at +550 to win it all, needs to keep putting the ball in the hands of Lonzo Ball, who put on a fantastic performance – one that even impressed Dwyane Wade – in the second-round win over Cincinnati (79-67).
The freshman star went 7-of-10 from the floor, including three three-pointers, for 18 points to go along with seven rebounds, nine assists and just one turnover. Prior to that game, Ball was almost just as efficient with 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting in what was an easy victory over Kent State in the first round.
The Bruins also have another playmaker in senior Bryce Alford. He hasn’t been exactly as efficient as their starting point guard, but he provided a productive 31 minutes against the Bearcats, knocking down four treys and had 16 points in total.
When both Ball and Alford get it going, you can expect UCLA to have its way against almost any program in the country.
UCLA (-1) wins, 81-78.
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