Alabama vs. UCLA Projected Odds: Our Spread, Total for NCAA Tournament Sweet 16
Sarah Stier/Getty Images. Pictured: Jahvon Quinerly #13 and John Petty Jr. #23.
#2 Alabama vs. #11 UCLA Odds
How Alabama & UCLA Match Up
|All stats via KenPom.|
What To Know About Alabama
The Crimson Tide finished as the top team in 3-point shooting in the SEC and 11th nationally in perimeter defense. The “3-and-D” is used heavily in the NBA but has worked well for head coach Nate Oats in his second season. Alabama’s shot charts are a dream for the analytics crowd.
The Tide want to play fast and score in transition. And in the half-court, they want to utilize dribble penetration to either get to the rim or kick it out for a 3. They did deal with some inevitable shooting regression down the stretch after an unsustainable early pace, but it’s still an excellent shooting team. What has been even more consistent all season has been Alabama’s defense, which ranks second in the nation in Adjusted Efficiency, per KenPom.
This is an elite defense by any metric that is capable of carrying the Tide on their off-shooting nights. Alabama is a legitimate Final Four contender because of that defense. The offense remains a very high-variance unit since it does shoot three-pointers at a top-20 rate nationally.
If the shots are falling for six straight games, Alabama can win it all. If not, they could get upset especially by a team that can slow the game down and contain Alabama’s dribble penetration in the half court. Keep your eyes on the status of starting freshman guard Josh Primo (who left the Miss State game with an injury) in addition to the progression of big man Jordan Bruner, who returned from injury late in the regular season. — Stuckey
What To Know About UCLA
UCLA snuck into the NCAA Tournament on the back of a very efficient offense that ranks 24th in the country, according to KenPom.
The Bruins slow the game down and look for the best shot, as evidence of their 335th-ranked tempo. They rank inside the top 50 in 3-point-shooting percentage this season, a rate that would be even better if guard Chris Smith didn’t tear his ACL in a New Year’s Eve game against Utah.
The Bruins are fortunate to have gotten into the tournament, having lost their final four games of the regular season. –– Matt Trebby