The UCLA Bruins had an amazing run in the NCAA Tournament last year and they have a shot of doing that again. But they can’t look ahead, as the Akron Zips are a dangerous team in their own right. Check out our preview below of this UCLA-Akron 2022 NCAA Tournament matchup in the first round.
Betting Preview for the UCLA Bruins vs Akron Zips NCAA College Basketball Game on March 17 2022
Where: Moda Center at the Rose Quarter, Portland, OR
When: Thursday, March 17, 2022, 8:00 PM ET
TV Broadcast: CBS
Betting on the UCLA Bruins (odds)
Record: 25-7 Overall/15-5 Conference
UCLA is looking to duplicate its amazing run in the 2021 NCAA Tournament in which they made it all the way to the Final Four More experienced and still with the core of that 2021 unit, the Bruins hope to kick things off with a bang this Thursday against Akron. Although the Bruins failed to win the Pac-12 Tournament by losing to the Arizona Wildcats last Saturday, 84-76, their play all season long has shown that they are among the best teams not only in their conference but in the nation as well. UCLA is both a top-15 team in adjusted offensive efficiency and adjusted defensive efficiency in Division I basketball. The Zips are also good defensively but haven’t really been tested much by elite competition this season.
UCLA is 6-0 against the spread in its last six NCAA Tournament outings.
Betting on the Akron Zips (odds)
Record: 24-9 Overall/14-6 Conference
Akron is making just its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2013, thanks to the Zips winning the MAC Tournament. The Zips topped that tourney as a 4-seed, which says a lot about how this team is peaking at just the right time. Akron will enter the first round on an eight-game win streak. None of their last five opponents have scored more than 68 points mostly because the Zips play punishingly slow. Akron is 351st in the nation in adjusted tempo and also takes a lot of free throws. The Zips can be hard to watch for those looking for an up-and-down action, but that’s not just how they operate. They can frustrate opponents by drawing fouls at a high rate, as evidenced by the fact that Akron is second nationally in opponents’ personal fouls per play. Also note that the Zips nearly upset the Ohio State Buckeyes in Columbus way back in November, losing to the Buckeyes by just a point (67-66).
Akron is 7-1 against the spread in its last eight games overall.
UCLA wins, 69-56.
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