UCLA vs. Akron Odds, Opening Spread, Predictions for March Madness 2022
Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images. Pictured: Tyger Campbell
UCLA vs. Akron Odds
|Opening spread and over/under via FanDuel. Find more March Madness odds here.|
With the March Madness bracket finally set, let’s take a closer look at the first-round matchup between No. 4 UCLA and No. 13 Akron ahead of the 2022 NCAA Tournament below.
Find one of our expert’s projected odds, another’s instant reaction, and how these teams match up below to start making your betting and bracket picks.
Projected UCLA vs. Akron Odds
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|Projected Akron Odds||+14|
|March Madness projections as of Selection Sunday. Find the latest NCAA Tournament projections here.|
March Madness Bracket Predictions
Many people look at 13 seeds for a potential upset when filling out brackets. But look elsewhere in this matchup, as the Bruins should roll over Akron.
UCLA ranks eighth in the nation in efficiency rating, according to KenPom, yet it drew a four-seed due to a tough start in February.
The Zips largely flew under the radar in the MAC this season, but managed to run away with the conference tournament title game by 20 points over Kent State. Akron has an experienced head coach in John Groce, who will have his squad ready for the moment. Whether the Zips have the talent to compete with a blue blood in UCLA is another question.
Akron has four starters who average double-digits in scoring, but size is a major concern. The Zips have only two starters that stand over 6-foot-3, and only two players that stand at 6-foot-7.
They rank 252nd in the nation in average height, according to KenPom, and will need to try and slow down a UCLA offense that scored 55% of its points from 2-point territory.
This UCLA roster has experience in the tournament and will surely lean on that against Akron. The Bruins will likely be high double-digit favorites and should have no issue making it to the second round.
I’d look at playing the under, as this matchup will be played at one of the slowest tempos of the first round. Akron is likely looking to take the air out of the ball. — Kyle Remillard
More About UCLA
Stuckey: You know these Bruins. Johnny Juzang, Tyger Campbell, Jaime Jacquez and Co. went from the play-in game to Final Four last year, where they took Gonzaga to the brink. Well, the whole band is back together and ready to make a deep run.
Ranking in the top 15 in both offensive and defensive efficiency per KenPom, they fit the profile of a legit national title contender. They don’t play particularly fast under Mick Cronin, as you might expect. And they simply do not beat themselves, ranking fifth in the country in turnover percentage.
This is the anti-analytics team as they live in the mid-range, ranking outside the top 300 in rim-and-three rate, but they live there efficiently.
UCLA has dealt with a number of bumps and bruises late in the year, so keep an eye on the Bruins’ health. But at full strength, this team could get back to the Final Four in New Orleans.
More About Akron
Avery Zimmerman: The Zips head into the tournament after catching fire at the end of the season. They closed out the year with eight consecutive wins, including each of their MAC tournament games to secure the auto-bid into March Madness.
Buoyed by four double-digit scorers, Akron is capable of scoring in a number of ways every game, but the most explosive offensive players are sophomore Ali Ali and junior transfer Xavier Castaneda.
The Zips have only played two Power Five opponents this year, but they showed what they’re capable of with a one-point loss to Ohio State. Akron will certainly be a heavy underdog in its first round matchup, no matter the opponent, but the Zips are not going to be a pleasant team to face.
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