Home News UNC Asheville vs. UCLA Prediction and Odds for NCAA Tournament First Round

UNC Asheville vs. UCLA Prediction and Odds for NCAA Tournament First Round

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UCLA narrowly lost the Pac-12 Championship to Arizona but still enters the NCAA Tournament as the No. 2 seed in the West. The Bruins’ loss snapped an eleven-game winning streak, and standout defender Jaylen Clark’s season-ending injury potentially leaves UCLA vulnerable to the No. 15 UNC Asheville Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs have nine straight wins, thanks in large part to one of the nation’s best three-point shooting attacks. They’re led by Drew Pimber, a 6’10” forward averaging 21.2 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks per game while shooting 37.3% from beyond the arc.

Can Pimber lead UNC Asheville to a shocking upset or will UCLA take care of business and roll as a huge favorite? Let’s check out the odds before I explain my best bet.

UNC Asheville vs. UCLA Odds, Spread, and Total

UNC Asheville vs. UCLA Prediction and Pick

Despite the Bruins’ elite statistical profile, I think they’re a bit overvalued here against a feisty Bulldogs squad. UCLA should win, but the gap between these teams is smaller than this massive spread would indicate.

UNC Asheville has six straight outright wins as an underdog, covering the spread by an average of over 12 points per game. The Bulldogs rank sixth nationally in three-point shooting percentage (38.8%) while holding their opponents to 30.5% shooting from beyond the arc (22nd). That means UCLA will need to score inside, but the Bruins are 180th in two-point shooting percentage (50.4%) and get to the free-throw line at one of the lowest rates in the country.

The Bulldogs also rank 12th in free throw rate (41.8%), so they’ll have an advantage at the line as well. Not only that, but both teams also play at a slow pace, decreasing the likelihood of a big blowout.

UCLA should pull away late, but I think the margin of victory will be much closer to 10 than 20. Thus, I’ll back the Bulldogs to cover the number behind a strong performance from Pimber.

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.