Updated UCLA vs. Akron Odds, Spread, Pick & Predictions for 2022 NCAA Tournament

Mar 14, 2022 - 10:00 AM

UCLA Bruins vs. Akron Zips 2022 NCAA Tournament Game Preview

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UCLA Bruins vs. Akron Zips Match Up Overview

UCLA Akron
Conference Pac-12 MAC
W-L 25-7 24-9
AdjEM 7th 131st
AdjO 14th 113th
AdjD 11th 166th
Tempo 259th 351st
eFG% 146th 58th
TO% 5th 129th
OR% 58th 147th
FTR 189th 5th
DeFG% 75th 144th
DTO% 92nd 226th
DR% 54th 96th
DFTR 152nd 73rd
Luck 242nd 117th

Stats via KenPom.

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UCLA Bruins Preview

Mick Cronin has lead his Bruins to another tournament appearance, and this time they are much better than an 11 seed. This team was given a high preseason ranking but slowly fell from grace throughout the season.

This UCLA squad is another team that appears to be more talented than their results suggest. Johnny Juzang, Jules Bernard, Jaime Jaquez, and Tyger Campbell are solid players who allow this team to keep up with the likes of Villanova and Florida. UCLA is careful with the ball and has won five of their last six games.

Despite this squad having ample experience, UCLA still has holes. When they aren’t scoring inside the arc, they seriously struggle, and they’ve struggled against some subpar teams, losing to Arizona State and getting swept by Oregon.

Analytically speaking, this team is top 10 in the nation, with championship aspirations. If we are looking at results, however, it’s hard to trust the Bruins to redo what they did a year ago. If they hope to make a deep tournament run, their offense needs to step up to the next level, and they need a couple of bounces to go their way.

Akron Zips Preview

The Zips made it out of the underrated MAC Conference after taking down top-seeded Toledo, riding an eight-game winning streak into the tournament. The team is effective at the dribble drive, ranking fourth in the nation at free throw rate.

Big man Enrique Freeman is the Oscar Tschiebwe of the mid-majors, rebounding everything in sight despite standing only 6-7. Ali Ali and Xavier Castaneda can sling it from deep.

The Zips have had their fair share of tough losses. Their slow pace and their struggles to defend the perimeter are flaws that can be exploited. This team shoots a lot of threes, and they do so at an above-average rate. They are capable of catching fire from deep and capitalizing on opponents facing foul trouble.

Rapid Prediction for UCLA Bruins vs. Akron Zips

UCLA went from the First Four to the Final Four as a No. 11 seed last year, but will not sneak up on anyone this time around. The Bruins finished second to Arizona in the Pac-12, and won eight of their last 10 entering the tournament. Akron earned an automatic bid after winning its fourth MAC Tournament championship, beating the top two seeds, Toledo and Kent State, along the way. One has to be disciplined when facing Akron, as the Zips rank 351st in adjusted tempo and are 331st in average possession length (19.1 seconds per possession). However, that plays right into Mick Cronin’s hands, as the Bruins coach has always been comfortable in defensive struggles. UCLA ranks in the top 15 in both adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency. They also take excellent care of the basketball, ranking fifth in the country with turnovers on just 13.4% of possessions. Forcing turnovers and defending the three-point line is not Akron’s forte, as they rank outside the top 225 in both metrics.

UCLA Bruins vs. Akron Zips Round 1 Game Pick

UCLA -15

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