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No. 11 UCLA vs. No. 1 Gonzaga preview, picks for the Final Four round of 2021 NCAA Tournament

The UCLA Bruins and Gonzaga Bulldogs meet at Lucas Oil Stadium in the Final Four round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament. We’ve got everything you need on both teams ahead of the game here.

Gonzaga players celebrate at center court with their trophy after defeating USC during the Elite Eight round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament on Tuesday, March 30, 2021, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind.  IndyStar-USA TODAY Sports

UPDATE 5:00 p.m. Here are the latest bet splits from DraftKings Sportsbook:

UCLA +14.5 (33% of action, 39% of bets)
Gonzaga -14.5 (67% of action, 61% of bets)


The Final Four nightcap will feature the favorite to win it all when the Gonzaga Bulldogs take on the No. 11 seed UCLA Bruins on Saturday, April 3 at 8:34 p.m. ET. UCLA has played in some thrilling games, but Gonzaga will head into this game as a heavy favorite as they look to advance to the national title with an undefeated record. This game can be seen on CBS.

No. 11 UCLA 22-9 (13-6 Pac-12)

First Four: Defeated No. 11 Michigan State 86-80
First Round: Defeated No. 6 BYU 73-62
Second Round: Defeated No. 14 Abilene Christian 67-47
Third Round: Defeated No. 2 Alabama 88-78
Fourth Round: Defeated No. 1 Michigan 51-49
KenPom rating: 17 Overall, 11 Offense, 55 Defense
Leading scorer: Johnny Juzang (15 ppg)
Key stat of tournament: UCLA is the second team ever to reach the Final Four after playing in the First Four, joining the 2011 VCU Rams.

The UCLA Bruins certainly took an unconventional route to the Final Four, but they made it. They barely made the field and needed a First Four victory in overtime to get into round No. 1 of the NCAA Tournament. It wasn’t always pretty, but UCLA got it done against the two top seeds of the region against the No. 2 seed Alabama Crimson Tide and No. 1 Michigan Wolverines.

Johnny Juzang has been the player to watch for UCLA throughout this tournament. In five games, he is averaging 21.6 points per game with 28 in the Elite Eight victory playing on an injured ankle.

Watch for UCLA to slow this game down as much as possible. They rank No. 284 in possessions per game, and the less possessions the better chance the Bruins have to keep this one close.

No. 1 Gonzaga 30-0 (15-0 WCC)

First Round: Defeated No. 16 Norfolk State 98-55
Second Round: Defeated No. 8 Oklahoma 87-71
Third Round: Defeated No. 5 Creighton 83-65
Fourth Round: Defeated No. 6 USC 85-66
KenPom rating: 1 Overall, 1 Offense, 7 Defense
Leading scorer: Corey Kispert (19.0 ppg)
Key stat of tournament: Gonzaga has outscored their opponents by 96 points through four games, an average margin of victory of 24 points.

What else can be said about this team? Gonzaga dominated just about every opponent they faced this season. Of their 30 victories, 29 of them came by double digits, and the Bulldogs challenged themselves with a very difficult non-conference slate. Gonzaga hasn’t been tested this NCAA Tournament, and it’s up to a No. 11 seed to be competitive.

Forwards Corey Kispert and Drew Timme are the two leading scorers on the team, as both average more than 18 points per game. Additionally, they have two players averaging more than four assists with Jalen Suggs and Andrew Nembhard.

Watch for Gonzaga to speed up the pace. They rank 19th in college basketball in pace, and they will have a significant advantage if they can get this into an up-tempo game.

March Madness Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook

Point spread: Gonzaga -14.5
Point total: 146
Moneyline: UCLA +700, Gonzaga -1250

The Pick

Against The Spread Pick: Gonzaga -14.5
Point total pick: Over 146
Pick to Win: Gonzaga

Betting against Gonzaga is a dangerous game at this point because they’ve covered the spread in every game this NCAA Tournament. It’s incredibly difficult to find an edge any team in the entire sport would have over the Bulldogs, and it seems unlikely UCLA will be the team to end this magical Gonzaga season. The Bruins come in with the No. 45 adjusted defensive efficiency in the country, and it’s going to be another high scoring game, as this game hits the over as well.

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