UCLA vs. Northwestern: 2023 NCAA Tournament West Region Second Round Preview

Mar 17, 2023 - 1:32 PM

UCLA Bruins vs. Northwestern Wildcats Game Info

UCLA Bruins (30-5, 18-2 Pac-12) vs. Northwestern Wildcats (22-11, 12-8 Big Ten)

  • Date: Saturday, Mar. 19, 2022
  • Start Time: 8:40 p.m. ET
  • Location: Golden 1 Center — Sacramento, CA
  • Coverage: TNT
  • Last Meeting: November 29, 2013 — UCLA defeated Northwestern 95-79 in Las Vegas.

UCLA vs. Northwestern Betting Odds

Odds courtesy of FanDuel

  • Moneyline: UCLA: (-360) | NW: (+280)
  • Point Spread: UCLA: -6.5 (-120) | NW: +6.5 (-102)
  • Total: 127.5 — Over: (-110) | Under: (-110)

Betting Trends

  • UCLA 2022-23 Betting Trends: 21-12-2 ATS; 17-18 to the Over
  • Northwestern 2022-23 Betting Trends: 20-13 ATS; 13-19-1 to the Over
  • UCLA is 5-0-1 ATS in its last six games.
  • UCLA is 4-0-1 ATS in its last five neutral site games.
  • The Over is 5-1 in UCLA’s last six games against teams with a winning percentage over .600.
  • Northwestern is 5-1 ATS in its last six games following a SU win.
  • Northwestern is 8-3 ATS in its last 11 games overall.
  • The Over is 3-1-1 in Northwestern’s last five games overall.


This is a fascinating matchup of a UCLA team playing in its 50th NCAA Tournament (fourth-most tournament appearances all-time) against a Northwestern team that has appeared in just one other NCAA Tournament (2017) in school history. At DraftKings, UCLA is the betting favorite to win the West Region despite being the No. 2 seed (+260), while Northwestern has the fifth-lowest odds of the 12 teams remaining at +3000.

Northwestern Wildcats Betting Preview

Northwestern is battle-tested from the rugged Big Ten that sent eight teams to the NCAA Tournament this year. The Big Ten standings were so jumbled that the Wildcats ascended to the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament with a road win in the regular season finale against Rutgers, while a loss in that game would have dropped them to ninth in the standings. Northwestern has alternated wins and losses for the last four games and has three separate five-game winning streaks this season.

UCLA Bruins Betting Preview

UCLA’s 33-point victory was the largest margin of victory by any team in Thursday’s opening round. That came after the Bruins were a 3-pointer at the buzzer away from beating Arizona in the Pac-12 championship game and doubling down as regular season champions. The Bruins are led by Pac-12 Player of the Year Jaime Jaquez (17.3 points per game). UCLA went 20-10-1 ATS as favorites this year and was the only Pac-12 team to cover the spread in more than 55% of its games.

UCLA Bruins vs. Northwestern Wildcats Betting Pick and Prediction

Many will point to UCLA’s impressive 33-point rout of UNC Asheville and assume the Bruins will not be challenged in this game either. However, not only would that be an overreaction to the Bruins’ latest victory, but it would be underselling what Northwestern has accomplished this year.

The Wildcats have everything you want in March, from a sound top-20 defense (they rank 18th in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency metric) and senior guards Boo Buie and Chase Audige, who are experienced and excellent two-way players. Per ShotQuality, those two rank in the top 75 in the country in frequency and efficiency of mid-range jumpers, so they should be comfortable against Mick Cronin’s defense that is designed to take away straight-line drives to the rim.

Northwestern did an excellent job on Boise State’s tandem of Marcus Shaver and Max Rice, holding them to 29 combined points and forcing them into an awful shooting night from 3-point range (3-for-11 combined). That will bode well for the schematics against UCLA’s duo of Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Tyger Campbell. In addition, Northwestern ranks in the top 12 among Division I teams in turnover rate (14.7%) and is 52nd in free-throw percentage (75.4%), which both bode well for its chances of covering the spread in what should be a close game throughout.

Pick: Northwestern +8 (-110 at Caesars)

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google Podcasts | Stitcher | RadioPublic | Breaker | Castbox | Pocket Casts

Whether you’re new to sports betting or a betting pro, our How To Bet and Sports Betting Strategy and Advice pages are for you. You can get started with our 101 section — including How to Choose a Sportsbook — or head to more advanced strategy — like Which Sports Are Most Profitable to Bet? — to learn more.

Mike Spector is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @MikeSpector01.

The post UCLA vs. Northwestern: 2023 NCAA Tournament West Region Second Round Preview appeared first on BettingPros.

No one has shouted yet.
Be the first!