Two blue bloods in the UCLA Bruins and the Michigan State Spartans are set to play in the relatively unsexy First Four round this Thursday. Nevertheless, this should be a must-watch game between two of the most popular and successful basketball programs in NCAA history. Check out our preview of this game below.
Betting Preview for the UCLA Bruins vs Michigan State Spartans NCAA College Basketball Game on March 18 2021
Where: Mackey Arena, West Lafayette, IN
When: Thursday, March 18, 2021, 9:57 PM ET
TV Broadcast: TBS
Betting on the UCLA Bruins (+1.5)
Record: 17-9 Overall / 13-6 Conference
The Bruins are headed to the First Four on a shaky form, having lost all of their last four games. The last time they were on the court, they suffered an 83-79 overtime loss to eventual Pac-12 tournament champions, Oregon State Beavers, 83-79, on Mar. 11. But UCLA has gotten an invite to March Madness for a reason. The Bruins can shoot the ball from deep, and when they get hot from that region, they could break any game open. UCLA finished second in Pac-12 play with 39.0 percent shooting from behind the arc and third with a 47.0 field goal percentage. UCLA is also 26th in the nation in adjusted offensive efficiency with 114.1 points per 100 possessions and features a clear go-to-guy in Kentucky Wildcats transfer Johnny Juzang, who averaged 14.0 points in the regular season.d
The over is 2-1 in UCLA’s last three games.
Betting on the Michigan State Spartans (-1.5)
Record: 15-11 Overall / 9-11 Conference
Michigan State wasn’t trending towards an appearance in the 2021 March Madness back in February, but the Spartans got hot with wins over the Indiana Hoosiers, Illinois Fighting Illini, and Ohio State Buckeyes in succession in mid-February. Then the Spartans ended their regular-season schedule with a 70-64 at home over National Tournament No.1 seed Michigan Wolverines. Although they lost to the Maryland Terrapins in the Big Ten tournament, the Spartans have considerably been a better team of late than UCLA. Michigan State’s defense that held opponents in the regular season down to just 31.5 percent shooting from deep could be key in slowing down an already cool Bruins team that hasn’t been scoring efficiently of late. Michigan State’s offense, meanwhile, is feeding off great ball movement that resulted in 15.9 assists per game in the regular season – 28th-best in Division I basketball.
The under is 6-0 in Michigan State’s last six games.
Michigan State wins, 70-67.
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