The UCLA Bruins have put together a Cinderella story, reaching their first Elite Eight in 13 years.
The 11th-seeded Bruins will now take on the first-seeded Michigan Wolverines on Tuesday, hoping to keep their magical run going with a massive upset. The Wolverines have looked strong, most recently blowing out the Florida State Seminoles in the Sweet Sixteen.
March Madness has gone from 68 teams down to eight, but the Bruins have had the longest journey of them all. Starting in the First Four, UCLA have had to win four games to get to this point. After losing their final four games of the regular season, the UCLA Bruins got hot at the right time and have rode their wave of momentum all the way to the Elite Eight.
Fixture: UCLA Bruins vs Michigan Wolverines - March Madness 2021: Elite Eight.
Date & Time: Tuesday, March 30th, 2021; 9:57 PM ET.
Venue: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana.
March Madness 2021 bets: UCLA Bruins vs Michigan Wolverines betting odds, lines and over/under
The Michigan Wolverines are a legitimate contender for the title this season, playing very well despite their star forward Isaiah Livers being sidelined with injury. The Wolverines have run their offense through the paint, leaving lots of faith in the production of freshman Hunter Dickinson.
Michigan have won by eight or more points in each of their first three March Madness games, outperforming their opponents at both ends of the floor. With the UCLA Bruins being the underdogs in the tournament, the Wolverines will need to be at their best to stop the former's miraculous run.
The UCLA players to watch our are Johnny Juzang and Jaime Jaquez Jr.
Sophomore guard Juzang fouled out with three minutes left in regulation in the Sweet Sixteen, leaving him helplessly watching from the bench during his team's overtime victory.
Juzang will need to play a strong, smart game against the Michigan Wolverines if the Bruins hope to keep rolling to the Final Four.
Jaquez was UCLA's hero in overtime, hitting clutch buckets down the stretch to seal the Bruins' victory. The 6' 6" sophomore tallied 17 points, eight boards, three assists and three steals in his team's win. If Jaime Jaquez Jr. puts together a similar night, the UCLA Bruins could produce a shock result once again.
The key players for Michigan will be Hunter Dickinson and Franz Wagner. Dickinson, a true freshman, had a strong outing in the Sweet Sixteen, tallying 14 points and eight rebounds in his team's win. The seven-footer provides a size advantage for Michigan in the paint, a weakness UCLA Bruins will hope to expose.
Franz Wagner, a 6' 9" German native, will provide more size and length for the Michigan Wolverines.
Wagner is a pure shooter, hitting just over 49% of his field goal attempts this year. Michigan will need to impose their will in the paint all night to deny UCLA any chance of an upset.
UCLA Bruins: +6.5 (-110).
Michigan Wolverines: -6.5 (-110).
UCLA Bruins: +250.
Michigan Wolverines: -320.
Over: 136 (-110).
Under: 136 (-110).
UCLA vs Michigan Prediction
The UCLA Bruins had an impressive performance against a talented Alabama group in their latest outing.
The Bruins run a fast-paced offense with high-intensity defense at the other end. The Michigan Wolverines will have the advantage of experience and size, but they are still susceptible to an off-night.
The Wolverines are 6.5 point favorites, which seems rather fair. The Bruins will need to play their best basketball to win this game, but the Michigan Wolverines may prove to be too strong for UCLA.
My best bet would go to Michigan (-6.5) and the under (U136).