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No. 6 UCLA vs. No. 11 Minnesota: Analysis, Predictions



No. 6 UCLA will face off against No. 11 Minnesota in the first-round South region in a battle of big-conference underdogs.

Currently, UCLA is the three-point favorites, according to SportingNews.com.

The Bruins have the edge in almost all major statistical categories. The team tallies 74.7 points per game, 36.3 rebounds, 16.1 assists per game and a 45 percent field goal percentage. In response, Minnesota tallies just 68.4 points, 38.8 rebounds, 14.8 assists and 42 percent shooting from the floor.

UCLA poses some matchup problems for Minnesota, which includes a potential NBA draftee in Shabazz Muhammad. The freshman guard nets 17.8 points and 5.3 rebounds per game this season and carried the Bruins to a 25-9 overall record. Moreover, the team is coming off a hot end to their season, finishing with a 7-3 record in the last 10 games. They also finished second in the Pac-12 tournament.

Through the season, they’ve been dubbed as giant killers. In fact, the team has posted victories over defeated then No. 7 Missouri and topped Arizona twice this season. Minnesota is no stranger to upsets either though. They drubbed then-No. 1 seed Indiana on Feb. 26 and then No. 12 seed Illinois on Jan. 9. Unfortunately, they’ve compiled an ugly end to the season,  dropping three straight games and finishing with a rough 3-7 in their last 10 games.

Minnesota is led by sophomore guard Andre Hollins, who averages just a shade under 14 points per game. He’ll have to heat up from beyond the arc, considering the team doesn’t distribute the ball well. In fact, the team only has two players who average more than two assists per game. As expected, most of their sets come off one-on-one matchups and not much of anything else.

Prediction: UCLA 72, Minnesota 66

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