March Madness Betting Analysis: Northwestern vs UCLA Odds and Trends

March Madness Betting Analysis: Northwestern vs UCLA Odds and Trends

In the very near future (2024-25 season), Northwestern and UCLA will be Big Ten rivals. For now, though, the Bruins remain in the Pac-12. They are the No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament’s West Region and face No. 7 Northwestern on Saturday night in second-round action. Let’s get to the action by checking out the college basketball betting odds for this Second Round Game.


#7 Northwestern vs. #2 UCLA: 2023 NCAA Tournament Expert Analysis | March Madness Lines


How to Bet Northwestern vs. UCLA NCAA Basketball Odds & TV Info

When: Saturday, 8:40 PM ET
Where: Golden 1 Center, Sacramento
Opening NCAAB Lines: UCLA -7.5 (total 127.5)


Why Bet on Northwestern?

The Wildcats (22-11) beat No. 10 Boise State 75-67 in Round 1. The Broncos had four members of their starting lineup score in double figures, but couldn’t make enough plays down the stretch. Despite going down in the first half with an injury, star Marcus Shaver returned to the game to finish with 12 points, nine rebounds and four assists. Shaver ended his career 19th in school history in scoring with 1,106. He passed Reggie Larry (1,098) on the all-time scoring list. For his total career he scored 1,974 points. Boise State fell to 0-11 against current Big Ten membership.

The Wildcats had four players score in double figures, led by Boo Buie who led all players with 22 points to go along with a game-high five assists. Chase Audige added 20 points, six rebounds and four steals and Ty Berry helped out with 13 points and six rebounds.

Buie’s 22 points are the second-most by a Wildcat in NCAA Tournament history behind Bryant McIntosh’s 25-point showing against Vanderbilt in the Round of 64 in 2017. Buie moved into fifth place in program history with 570 total points, passing Evan Eschmeyer’s total of 568 points from the 1998-99 season. Buie is 12 points from a tie for fourth place with Dale Kelley (1969-70) and 15 points from tying Eschmeyer’s 1997-98 total for third place.

Audige and Buie each scored 20+ points in the same game for the second time this season, with the other coming in NU’s 81-61 win over Minnesota on January 28th. It was Audige’s sixth 20+ point game of the season and first since scoring 24 against Minnesota. Audige tallied 4+ steals for the tenth time this season, just one of four players to reach that mark this season. He joined Penn State’s Josh Reaves (2018-19) and Ohio State’s Aaron Craft (2013-14) as the only Big Ten players with 10+ games of four or more steals in a season since at least the 2010-11 season.

The Northwestern offense was good from long range, making eight threes on 21 attempts. Berry hit three treys for the Wildcats in the contest. The NW defense was strong, holding Boise State shooters to only 40 percent from the field, including a 26.1 percent mark from three-point range.

The Wildcats won the turnover battle 9-7. It marked the 27th time in 33 games that NU has won the turnover battle this season. The ‘Cats held a 7-2 advantage in steals. Their 75 points were their most in the past six games. Northwestern improved to 2-0 all time in the NCAA Tournament First Round.

NW is disruptive and tough on the defensive end and establishes the rhythm of the game on the defensive end. Northwestern forces a turnover on 22% of opponents’ possessions, ranking in the top 40 nationally, and has a +4.3 turnover margin, 10th in the nation.


Why Bet on UCLA?

Pac-12 regular-season champion UCLA (30-5) blasted No. 15 UNC Asheville 86-53 on Thursday. UCLA jumped on Asheville early and often as the Bruins made nine of their first 10 field goal attempts and scored the first 14 points of the game. They took a 21-point lead, 46-25 lead, going into the locker room for halftime and the game was over.

“I give them a ton of credit,” Asheville coach Mike Morrell said. “They were the aggressors early, and they took it to us. You’ve got to give them credit for that because they were not going to be caught sleeping. I thought they were really good defensively. They just kind of really pushed us around all over the floor.”

Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Amari Bailey each scored 17 points to lead UCLA. Jaquez Jr. and Bailey joined David Singleton, Kenneth Nwuba and Mac Etienne as double-figure scorers. Nwuba and Etienne, the Bruins’ primary post players on Thursday, combined to make nine of nine baskets. Singleton was particularly effective from 3-point range, connecting on 3 of 7 attempts from downtown.

Jaquez Jr. set a career-high with five steals and pulled down a team-high eight rebounds. He finished the game just two steals shy of Reggie Miller’s record-setting seven steals in an NCAA Tournament contest (from March 14, 1987). As a team, UCLA shot 54 percent from the field and outscored UNC Asheville by a 56-24 margin in the paint. The Bruins recorded a season-best 24 assists and committed just eight turnovers.

“I think we’re playing a lot for Jaylen this tournament,” Jaquez said, referring to teammate and Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year Jaylen Clark, who is out for the season with a lower-leg injury. “I took a page out of J-Rock’s book, trying to get steals, trying to be active with my hands, try to do it for him.”

The victory was so comfortable that the Bruins did not need to use freshman center Adem Bona, who was cleared to return from the left shoulder injury that had sidelined him since a Pac-12 tournament semifinal against Oregon. He’ll likely play Saturday.

It’s the first time since 2017 that UCLA has reached the 30-win plateau in a single season (UCLA finished the 2016-17 season with a 31-5 record, losing in the Sweet 16 to Kentucky).


Game Trends

  • Wildcats are 10-2 ATS in their last 12 Saturday games.
  • Wildcats are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games overall.
  • Wildcats are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games following a ATS win.
  • Bruins are 5-0-1 ATS in their last 6 games overall.
  • Bruins are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 NCAA Tournament games.
  • Bruins are 15-5-2 ATS in their last 22 games following a straight up win.

Expert Prediction

UCLA 67, Northwestern 61


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