Michigan vs UCLA, picks, predictions for the match March Madness Elite Eight

A classic Big Ten-Pac-12 match will decide a Final Four.

The Michigan No.1 meets UCLA No.11 in the Eastern Region Finals on Tuesday, with a game scheduled for 9:57 p.m. ET at Lucas Oil Stadium. The game will be televised on TBS.

Michigan (23-4) is in the Elite Eight for the first time since 2018 under second-year coach Juwan Howard. The Wolverines continue to thrive despite the loss of forward Isaiah Livers, and their selfless play stood out in a 76-58 win over 4th State Florida in the Sweet 16. Michigan tied a season high. with 19 assists against the Seminoles.

UCLA (21-9) is back in the Elite Eight for the first time since 2008 under second-year coach Mick Cronin. The Bruins can make the unlikely run from the top four to the bottom four, which continued with a 88-78 win over Alabama in the Sweet 16.

The Wolverines and Bruins have met four times in the NCAA tournament and UCLA is 3-1 in those clashes.

Here’s everything you need to know about betting Michigan vs UCLA in the 2021 NCAA tournament, including updated odds, trends and our predictions for the Elite Eight game.

Michigan vs UCLA betting odds

  • Propagated: Michigan -7.5
  • More under: 137
  • Moneyline: Michigan -330, UCLA +270

Three betting trends to watch out for

–Michigan are 19-8 ATS, which is the second-best record among remaining teams in the tournament behind Oregon State (Beavers are 22-9-1).

–The Wolverines are 7-1 ATS when favored by five points or less this season and are 2-2 in a row against Pac-12 teams in the tournament since 1985.

– UCLA is 5-3 ATS as an underdog, but is 4-4 in this situation.

Michigan key players

Freshman Hunter Dickinson leads Michigan with 14.2 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. The 7-1 center is also adept at crossing doubles teams. Franz Wagner is a 6-9 wing who averaged 14.5 points and 7.5 rebounds in Michigan’s last two tournament wins. Guards Eli Brooks and Mike Smith form a veteran backcourt, and Brooks has been an avid shooter throughout the tournament. Brandon Johns Jr., Chaundee Brown, and Austin Davis are excellent actors who have stepped up in Livers’ absence.

UCLA key players

Johnny Juzang and Jaime Jaquez have been dynamic scorers for the Bruins throughout the tournament, averaging 21 and 16.8 points per game, respectively. Tyger Campbell, Jules Bernard and Cody Riley are part of a balanced starting five. Campbell scored 13 points and distributed five assists in the win over Alabama. Reserve David Singleton scored 15 points and is a valuable sub for the Bruins.

Best Individual Match: Juzang vs Wagner

UCLA’s lineup of four guards is a challenge for the Wolverines, and Wagner could slide on Jaquez in some sets. Wagner, however, is an excellent defensive player on the perimeter. UCLA can counter with Juzang, whose ability to basket will test Wagner. Brown could get more minutes for Michigan due to the depth of UCLA’s perimeter.

Michigan vs UCLA stats you should know

UCLA is 9-1 when it forces opponents to make 13 or more turnovers, but Michigan has an experienced guard tandem in Smith and Brooks. The Wolverines have made more than 13 turnovers in eight games, in which they are 7-1. The Bruins can still charge if Michigan is sloppy with basketball.

Get to Know… Brandon Johns Jr.

The lack of livers has been well documented, but Johns continues to provide the Wolverines with precious minutes as the next man. Johns not only averaged 9.8 points and 5.3 boards in four starts, but he’s also become a complementary player in Michigan’s offense. Look for Johns to be involved in the post-low game to test UCLA’s home defense.

Michigan vs UCLA prediction

UCLA must be hot from 3 points at the start of this game. Michigan shot 35.5% of that distance in the tournament, but the Wolverines made up for that by averaging 20 assists per game in the tournament. Michigan shares the ball well and will be able to break UCLA’s defense consistently in the second half. Dickinson also has an advantage in the post, and the Wolverines would feed off that later. Howard starred in an 86-84 thriller between the teams in 1993. Michigan won this game, and they will win this one too.

Final score: Michigan 80, UCLA 72

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