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Gonzaga Plays UCLA in South Region Sweet 16 Matchup

One of the semifinals in the South Region tips off tonight from Houston, Texas when the No. 11 seeded UCLA Bruins play the No. 2 seeded Gonzaga Bulldogs. The current line has Gonzaga favored by 8.5 points.

This is the second time these two schools will meet this season, but the big difference now is an Elite 8 spot is up for grabs.

UCLA had played exceptionally well of late, winning 6 of its past 7 games overall while covering in four consecutive along the way. In its round of 32 game, the Bruins played UAB and were victorious 92-75 as a favorite by 5.5 points.

UCLA shot 60% from the field in the game and out rebounded UAB 41-26.

Gonzaga has won five consecutive games after defeating Iowa 87-68 in their round of 32 games. Over their past three games played, Gonzaga is scoring at an 88 points per game clip.

On December 13 of last year, the teams played at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion with Gonzaga winning 87-74 as a favorite by 7.5 points. In that game, Gonzaga shot 59% from the field and out rebounded UCLA 34-30.

UCLA is 6-0 against the number following a game where it made at least 50% from three-point land. Over the last two seasons, UCLA is 6-0 against the number when avenging a loss where its opponent scored 75 points or more.

UCLA does not have any injuries, while Gonzaga will   be minus Josh Perkins who has a jaw injury.

The Bruins are averaging 72 points per game this season, but are allowing 68 points per game. UCLA guard Bryce Alford has averaged 24.5 points per game in the first two games of the tournament, hitting 12 of his 16 shots from three-point territory.

Alford scored 23 in a losing cause earlier in the season against Gonzaga, while handing out 3 assists.

Gonzaga has been dominating when it comes to offense this year averaging 79 points per game, which is No. 10 in the nation. The Bulldogs are a good rebounding team averaging 38 per game, which is No. 30 in the nation.

Defensively, the Bulldogs are allowing only 61.5 points per game.

Kevin Pangos operates the team’s offense from his guard spot. He handles the ball well and turns it over very seldom. Kyle Wiltjer leads the Bulldogs in scoring at 17 points per game, while pulling down 6 rebounds. He is averaging 23.5 points per game in the tournament and had 24 against UCLA earlier this season.

Prediction: Gonzaga is the superior team. The Bulldogs can easily control the boards in this game and get second chance opportunities. UCLA’s run ends here. Gonzaga 82-71.

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