UCLA vs. Abilene Christian Projected Odds: Our Spread, Total for NCAA Tournament Second Round
Jamie Squire/Getty Images. Pictured: Reggie Miller.
#11 UCLA vs. #14 Abilene Christian Odds
How UCLA & Abilene Christian Match Up
|All stats via KenPom.|
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 season before winning two in the tournament — Matt Trebby
What To Know About Abilene Christian
What Abilene Christian could pull off is the tried-and-true Southland Conference formula in the Big Dance. That, of course, is suffocating opponents with a style of pressure defense that has all but vanished from college basketball.
Before Abilene got on its recent run, it was the SLC’s flagbearer, Stephen F. Austin, causing havoc in March with a full-court press defense.
The Lumberjacks made the NCAA Tournament four times between 2014 and 2018, collecting a pair of shocking upsets and falling a single basket short of the Sweet 16 in 2016.
ACU has embraced the SLC top-dog persona and is turning teams at the highest rate in the nation.
It’s all about the defense, which ranks in the 100th percentile in points per possession in the half court per Synergy. ACU will press at times, but its bread-and-butter is a no-middle scheme that puts an extreme emphasis on taking away paint touches. It also helps to have a 7-footer protecting the rim in Kolton Kohl along with a few other very effective interior defenders. On the other end, it’s the fifth-most post-centric offense in the country. The goal is to get to the rim (which they do at a top-25 rate) or kick it out to a plethora of capable shooters for a team that ranks in the top-50 nationally in 3P%.
The Wildcats are an extremely effective passing team that rarely settles for 2P jump shots. Ideally, they’d want to face a team that allows them to run their post-oriented offense and avoid a scheme that would take that completely away like Virginia’s pack-line or another no-middle scheme. — Stuckey