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Northwestern vs. UCLA preview, picks for second round of 2023 NCAA Tournament

The Wildcats and Bruins meet at the Golden 1 Center in the second round of the 2023 NCAA Tournament. We’ve got everything you need on both teams ahead of the game here.

Tyger Campbell of the UCLA Bruins looks on during the second half of a game North Carolina-Asheville Bulldogs in the first round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Golden 1 Center on March 16, 2023 in Sacramento, California. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

After taking care of business in the first round, No. 7-seeded Northwestern will take on No. 2 UCLA in the Round of 32.

Tip-off is set for 8:40 p.m. ET on Saturday and will air on TNT. UCLA opened as 7.5-point favorites on DraftKings Sportsbook.

No. 7 Northwestern: 22-11 (12-8 Big Ten):

First-round result: 75-67 win over UCLA
KenPom rating: 38 Overall, 100 Offense, 18 Defense
NET ranking: 41, (7-6 VS Quad 1)
Leading scorer: Boo Buie 17.3 ppg
Key stat: The Wildcats only go seven-deep, and only have two players who average double-figures.

Northwestern picked up a wire-to-wire win over Boise State behind 20-point performances from guards Buie and Chase Audige. The win was the epitome of Northwestern basketball: they limited turnovers, made threes when needed and played solid defense.

Buie’s been the catalyst on offense all season for the Wildcats, and that trend should continue against the Bruins. That said, he struggles to shoot the ball consistently from deep, which could spell doom for the Bruins.

No. 2 UCLA 30-5 (18-2 PAC 12):

First-round result: 86-53 win over UNC Asheville
KenPom rating: 2 Overall, 21 Offense, 1 Defense
NET ranking: 3, (8-5 VS Quad 1)
Leading scorer: Jamie Jaquez Jr. 17.3 ppg
Key stat: UCLA jumped out to a fast start against UNC Asheville, scoring the first 14 points en route to their big win.

While some people counted the Bruins out due to injuries to Jaylen Clark and Adem Bona, the Bruins took care of business in the first round behind 17 points from Jaquez and Amari Bailey.

While Bona missed the Round of 64 games, all signs point towards him returning against the Wildcats, which would be a huge boost to Mick Cronin’s club. Bona’s not a huge scoring threat, sure, but his size (6-foot-10) could be an X-factor as the Bruins go deeper in March.

These are the kind of games where Tyger Campbell thrives. While he only scored nine points against the Bulldogs, Campbell recorded 10 assists and managed the Bruins' offense with his trademark efficiency. He should control the case against the Wildcats

Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook

Point spread: UCLA -7.5
Point total: 127.5
Moneyline: UCLA -360, Northwestern +295

The Pick

Against The Spread Pick: UCLA -7.5
Point total pick: Over 127.5
Pick to Win: UCLA

UCLA is one of the most talented teams in this tournament and should have been given a one-seed. They shouldn’t have any problem with the Wildcats.