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Gonzaga vs. UCLA preview, picks for Sweet 16 of 2023 NCAA Tournament

The Bulldogs and the Bruins meet at T-Mobile Arena in the Sweet 16 of the 2023 NCAA Tournament. We’ve got everything you need on both teams ahead of the game here.

Northwestern v UCLA Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The No. 3 Gonzaga Bulldogs take on the No. 2 UCLA Bruins in a Sweet Sixteen matchup at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Thursday, March 23. The game will air on CBS at 9:45 p.m. ET. UCLA enters as a two-point favorite.

No. 3 Gonzaga (30-5, 14-2 WCC)

First-round result: Defeated Grand Canyon, 82-70
Second-round result: Defeated TCU, 84-81
KenPom rating: 8 Overall, 1 Offense, 76 Defense
NET ranking: 6, (6-4 VS Quad 1)
Leading scorer: Drew Timme, 20.9 ppg
Key stat: 87.3 ppg (first in the nation)

The Zags have kept up their high-scoring offense in the first two rounds of the tournament, though TCU came close to matching them. Drew Timme, now in his fourth season with Gonzaga, has become a leader on the court not just in points, but in tournament experience. He added 28 points in the win over TCU, in which Gonzaga matched almost exactly in shooting distribution and percentage with the Frogs. They won on the free-throw line and in rebounding, and now, the top-ranked offense faces the top-ranked defense in what certainly could turn out to be an instant classic.

No. 2 UCLA (31-5, 18-2 Pac-12)

First-round result: Defeated UNC-Asheville, 86-53
Second-round result: Defeated Northwestern, 68-63
KenPom rating: 2 Overall, 25 Offense, 1 Defense
NET ranking: 3, (8-5 VS Quad 1)
Leading scorer: Jaime Jaquez Jr., 17.5 PPG
Key stat: Allows 60.2 PPG (6th in the nation)

Northwestern took UCLA to the wire in the second round despite the Bruins shooting 50% from the field and 40% from the three. The Bruins have the top-ranked defense in the country at KenPom, and as they meet the Zags in a rematch of a 2021 game that sent the Bruins out of the bracket, UCLA will be more prepared than ever. Jaime Jaquez is extremely tough to defend, and UCLA has the length to defend Timme this time around.

Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook

Point spread: UCLA -2
Point total: 145.5
Moneyline: UCLA -135, Gonzaga +115

The Pick

Against The Spread Pick: UCLA -2
Point total pick: Over 145.5
Pick to Win: UCLA -135

It’s going to be a fun one to watch, but Gonzaga’s defense won’t have an answer for Jaquez, while UCLA may just have an answer to Timme. I’ll take the Bruins in a legendary rematch.