Kent State vs. UCLA Pick
Friday’s NCAA Tournament action closes out at 9:57PM ET when No. 3 UCLA faces No. 14 Kent State.
According to oddsmakers at BetDSI, UCLA is the clear favorite today, as the Bruins are getting odds of -18.5 points against Kent State. The over/under total for the game is listed at 161.5 points. This game will take part in the South Region and air on TruTV from Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California.
UCLA is coming off an 86-75 loss to Arizona in the Pac-12 Tournament, but the Bruins had won 10 straight prior to that The Bruins sit at 29-4 on the season and 16-17 against the spread. UCLA is one of the top offensive teams in the nation, averaging 90.4 points per game while allowing 75.3 on defense. TJ Leaf is leading the team with 16.2 points and 8.3 rebounds per game but is battling an ankle injury. He is probable to play. Highly-publicized Lonzo Ball is averaging 14.6 points, 6.1 rebounds and 7.7 assists for the Bruins this season.
Kent State got hot at the right time, winning the MAC Tournament to get into March Madness. The Golden Flashes were just fourth in the MAC East this season, but won four straight games to take the title and get to 22-13 on the season. The Flashes have covered the spread in eight of their last nine games to move to 16-13-2 against the spread on the season. That includes an 11-6-2 mark ATS away from home. Jimmy Hall is averaging 18.9 points and 10.5 rebounds per game to lead Kent State while Jaylin Walker adds 15.6 points and 4.3 rebounds per contest.
I like UCLA in this tournament. I think the Bruins scoring will really cause a problem for almost any team it faces. While Kent State comes in hot, the Golden Flashes are facing a major step-up in competition. Kent State has won its last three by scoring 70 or less. That won’t fly today. The Flashes can’t keep pace with the Bruins and UCLA will be eager to put on a show following a loss to Arizona.
MARCH MADNESS PREDICTION: UCLA -18.5