UCLA vs. UNC-Asheville Pick – Basketball Predictions & Odds 3/16/23
UCLA Bruins (29-5) vs. UNC-Asheville Bulldogs (27-7)
March 16, 2023 10:05 pm EDT
The Line: UCLA Bruins -17.5 / UNC-Asheville Bulldogs +17.5; Over/Under: +134.5
(Get latest betting odds)
The UCLA Bruins and the UNC-Asheville Bulldogs meet in an NCAA tournament first round matchup in college basketball action from the Golden 1 Center on Thursday night.
UCLA Bruins Team Preview
The UCLA Bruins come into the NCAA Tournament after finishing the year with a record of 29-5 overall and an 18-2 mark in Pac-12 conference play, finishing as the Pac-12 regular season champions. UCLA took out Colorado and Oregon before falling to Arizona in the Pac-12 conference title game. Jaime Jaquez Jr. leads the Bruins in scoring and rebounding with 17.3 PPG and 8.1 RPG while Tyger Campbell has 13.6 PPG and a team-high 4.7 APG to lead the Bruins in assists. Amari Bailey also has 10.6 PPG to cap off the trio of active double-digit scorers for UCLA up to this point. As a team, UCLA is averaging 73.9 PPG on 45.8% shooting from the field, 34.7% from three and 72.2% from the foul line this season.
UNC-Asheville Team Preview
The UNC-Asheville Bulldogs come into the NCAA tournament after going 24-7 in the regular season including a 16-2 mark in Big South conference play to finish as the Big South regular season champions. The Bulldogs would take out Charleston Southern and USC Upstate before knocking off Campbell in the conference championship game to gain the Big South’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Drew Pember leads the Bulldogs in scoring and rebounding with 21.2 PPG and 9.4 RPG while Taijon Jones has 15 PPG with 5.2 RPG as the only other double-digit scorer for UNC-Asheville up to this point in the season. Caleb Burgess also has 4.3 APG to lead the Bulldogs in assists as well this season. As a team, UNC-Asheville is averaging 75 PPG on 47.7% shooting from the field, 39% from three and 69.4% from the foul line this season.
I’m leaning towards UNC-Asheville here. Not a game I’m rushing to bet, and I may just watch this one as a fan because I want to see how the Bruins fare in a high-pressure environment like the NCAA tournament without Jaylen Clark before feeling good about the Bruins potential going forward. UNC-Asheville’s also a dangerous opponent as they shoot the three extremely well and I think this has potential to be a fairly interesting matchup. Give me the Bulldogs and the points here.