The UCLA Bruins busted a few brackets when they eliminated Tom Izzo and the Michigan State Spartans in the second round of the tournament. Now they will try to slay a bigger dragon when they go up against the Florida Gators.
The latest odds have the Gators listed as a five-point favorite for this game. The Gators easily won the first round, but will have a bigger challenge in the round of 32. In fact, they will have a very big challenge.
That challenge is Bruins center Josh Smith. Smith is a huge presence down low and a game changer. He cleans the glass and blocks shots, while daring opposing guards to drive the lane.
If the Bruins want to win this game, they will need to make more free throws. They squandered a big lead to the Spartans by missing nine of 12 free throws in the final 1:31 of the game. If they do that again against the Gators, they won’t have a shot.
The Gators have plenty of size on their team to counter with. With four players 6-foot-9 or taller in their eight-player rotation, the Gators can take advantage of moving the ball and scoring from all over the floor.
UCLA is banged up entering this game and just does not have the talent to take down Florida.
The Bruins are 8-20-1 against the spread in their last 29 games following a win against the number, and they are 4-10 against the spread in the last 14 games on a neutral court.
The Gators are 6-1-1 ATS in their last eight games overall, and they will beat UCLA and move on in the tournament.
March Madness Pick: Florida (-5)