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No. 4 UCLA vs. No. 13 Akron preview for March Madness first-round matchup

The No. 4 UCLA and No. 13 Akron face off in the first round of the 2022 NCAA tournament. We’ve got an initial preview of what and how to watch following Selection Sunday.

UCLA Bruins guard Johnny Juzang (3) dribbles against Washington State Cougars forward Andrej Jakimovski (23) during the first half at T-Mobile Arena. Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

The NCAA Tournament begins on Tuesday, March 15th with the First Four, and then moves on to the first round on Thursday, March 17 and Friday, March 18. No. 4 seed UCLA will face No. 13 seed Akron in the first round on Thursday. Here’s an early look at what we can expect from the Bruins and Zips in this year’s March Madness Tournament.

Once the odds from DraftKings Sportsbook are made available for this game, we’ll add that information below. We’ll also add the game time and TV channel once it’s settled.

Game date: Thursday, March 17
Game time: 9:40 p.m. ET
TV channel: TBS
Location: Portland, OR, Moda Center

Odds: UCLA -15

No. 4 UCLA

The Bruins finished the regular season ranked as the No. 13 in the country and they made it to the Pac-12 Championship game. They had four players average more than 11 points per game. Guard Johnny Juzang led the team averaging 16.0 points per game over the 26 games he played in the regular season.

Record: 25-7, 15-5 Pac-12
KenPom adjusted offensive efficiency: 15
KenPom adjusted defensive efficiency: 11
Against The Spread: 17-14-1
Over Total: 16-16
Odds to win NCAA Championship: +2800

No. 13 Akron

The Zips powered through the MAC conference tournament to earn the league’s automatic bid to the “Big Dance”. Akron is led by Ali Ali and Xavier Castenada, but it’ll be the play of Enrique Freeman which could determine if this team makes a deep NCAA Tournament run. Freeman had 23 points in the MAC title game to lead all scorers. Unfortunately Akron doesn’t excel on one end of the floor, which is usually required to create some chaos in the main bracket.

Record: 24-9, 14-6 MAC
KenPom adjusted offensive efficiency: 113
KenPom adjusted defensive efficiency: 166
Against The Spread: 18-14
Over Total: 14-18
Odds to win NCAA Championship: +100000