The No. 2 seed UCLA Bruins (29-5, 18-2 Pac-12) will begin their NCAA Tournament with a matchup with the No. 15 seed UNC-Asheville Bulldogs (27-7, 16-2 Big South) on Thursday night. The game will tip off at 10:05 p.m. ET from Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California, and can be seen on truTV.
Let’s take a look at the odds and lines on DraftKings Sportsbook and make some picks.
No. 2 UCLA vs. No. 15 UNC-Asheville picks
Spread: UCLA -17.5
Moneyline: UCLA -2100, UNC-Asheville +1100
UCLA won the Pac-12 regular season title and won 12 consecutive matchups until getting knocked off by the Arizona Wildcats 61-59 in the conference championship. UNC-Asheville earned the automatic bid by winning the Big South regular season and tournament championship with a nine-game winning streak going into the NCAA Tournament.
The Bruins will play their fourth game without third-leading scorer Jaylen Clark, and Adem Bona missed the Pac-12 Championship, though he could be back for this matchup. UNC-Asheville rate 195th in KenPom adjusted offensive efficiency and 115th defensively. It feels like the Bruins need to prove to themselves they can still play at a high level despite potentially being without two starters, so I think we’re getting their best effort for a blowout win in Round 1.
Pick: UCLA -17.5