Who is the true West Coast powerhouse?
No. 1 Gonzaga meets No. 11 UCLA in the Final Four national semifinal on Saturday. Tip off is scheduled for approximately 8:34 p.m. at Lucas Oil Stadium. The game will be televised on CBS.
Gonzaga (30-0) is back in the Final Four for the second time under coach Mark Few after an 85-66 win against No. 6 USC in the West Region final. The Bulldogs remain on pace to be the first undefeated team since Indiana in 1975-76, and they have won four tournament games by an average of 24 points per game.
UCLA (22-9) has won a Division I-best 11 national championships, and the Bruins are back in the Final Four for the first time since 2008. Coach Mick Cronin has led an impressive run from the First Four, which was capped with a 51-49 victory against No. 1 Michigan in the East Region final.
Here’s everything to know about betting on Gonzaga vs. UCLA in the 2021 NCAA Tournament, including updated odds, trends and our prediction for the Final Four game.
Gonzaga vs. UCLA odds
Three betting trends to watch
— The Bulldogs have been favored in every game and are 15-12-2 ATS this season. Gonzaga has covered in four of its last five games.
— UCLA is 6-3 against the spread as an underdog, and they are 5-4 straight up in that situation.
— UCLA and Gonzaga have met five times – all since 1999 – and the Bruins have a 3-2 advantage in the series. UCLA won the last meeting 71-66 on Dec. 12, 2015.
Final Four history
Gonzaga cashed in on its fifth Elite Eight appearance since 1999 with its second Final Four appearance in school history. The Bulldogs were the national runner up against North Carolina in 2017. Gonzaga is still looking for its first national championship. UCLA has 19 Final Four appearances, the second most in Division I history. The Bruins won their last national championship in 1995.
Gonzaga key players
Gonzaga continues to roll with its All-American trio of Corey Kispert (19.0 ppg.), Drew Timme (18.9 ppg.) and Jalen Suggs (13.9 ppg.). Timme has emerged as the leading scorer throughout the tournament run, and the 6-10 sophomore has improved his NBA stock through the tournament. Joel Ayayi (11.9 ppg.) and Andrew Nembhard (9.2 ppg.) round out the Bulldogs’ starting five.
UCLA key players
Johnny Juzang, a Kentucky transfer, saved UCLA’s season with 28 points in the Elite Eight matchup against Michigan. He averages 22.4 ppg. in the tournament. The Bruins have four other players who average double figures in Jaime Jaquez (12.4 ppg.), Jules Bernard (10.7 ppg.), Tyger Campbell (10.2 ppg.) and Cody Riley (10.0 ppg.). The Bruins do not have a lot of size, however, and Gonzaga will try to exploit that.
Best individual matchup: Suggs vs. Juzang
Juzang continues to be a dynamic scorer, and he is a high-volume shooter with 15 or more shots in every tournament game. Suggs averages less than 10 shots per game in the tournament, and he has been more of a complimentary piece to Kispert and Timme in the last four games. He has dished out 4.8 assists per game. Suggs could be more assertive off the drive in this game to match that scoring. They might not guard each other much, but it’s still an in-game trend to watch.
Gonzaga vs. UCLA stat to know
The last two teams to attempt the perfect season in the Final Four were UNLV (1990-91) and Kentucky (2014-15). They were beaten by Duke and Wisconsin, respectively. The Blue Devils were a No. 6 seed and the Badgers were a No. 3 seed. A UCLA upset would be among the greatest in Final Four history, strange as that sounds, and they will need to force turnovers to do it. The Bruins are 10-1 when the force 13 turnovers or more, and Michigan committed 14 in the Elite Eight matchup. The bad news? Gonzaga has committed that many turnovers in 14 games, and it has not led to a loss.
Get to know … Tyger Campbell
Campbell is a high-energy point guard for the Bruins, and he faces a challenge against Gonzaga’s loaded backcourt. UCLA is 9-1 when Campbell has six assists or more, and he averaged 12 points in the victories against Alabama and Michigan the last two rounds. He would be a key piece if the Bruins are to pull off a shocker.
Gonzaga vs UCLA prediction
Gonzaga has scored at least 83 points in each of its tournament games, and they overwhelm opponents with that up-tempo game. UCLA can only slow that tempo so much, so it will take a hot-shooting 3-point night from Juzang and the supporting cast to put up a chance. Look for Timme to get the Gonzaga offense going early, and Kisper and Suggs will take over in the second half. UCLA will not get blown out, but the Bulldogs will keep that double-digit cushion to the end.
Final score: Gonzaga 84, UCLA 70
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