UCLA vs. Gonzaga Sweet 16 Preview & Prediction

UCLA is the lowest-seeded team (11) to make the Sweet 16, upsetting SMU and beating UAB in their first two games. Gonzaga has simply taken care of business, knocking off North Dakota State and blowing out Iowa.

Projected Starting Lineups

(2) Gonzaga Bulldogs (34-2, 17-1 in WCC)

G Kevin Pangos (Sr.) – 11.8 ppg, 4.9 apg

G Gary Bell, Jr. (Sr.) – 8.4 ppg, 2.5 rpg

G Byron Wesley (Sr.) – 10.5 ppg, 4.7 rpg

F Kyle Wiltjer (Jr.) – 17.1 ppg, 6.1 rpg

C Przemek Karnowski (Jr.) – 10.9 ppg, 5.7 rpg

(11) UCLA Bruins (22-13, 11-7 in Pac-12)

G Bryce Alford (So.) –15.6 ppg, 4.9 apg

G Norman Powell (Sr.) – 16.4 ppg, 4.7 rpg

G Isaac Hamilton (So.) – 10.6 ppg, 3.3 rpg

F Kevon Looney (Fr.) – 11.6 ppg, 6.9 rpg

F Tony Parker (Jr.) – 11.4 ppg, 6.6 rpg

What to watch for:

Can anyone stop Kyle Wiltjer?

Gonzaga has a multitude of weapons offensively, but Wiltjer is the most crucial to their success. The Kentucky transfer is a lethal outside shooter at 6’10″ (44.9 percent from three-point range), which stretches the defense and opens up driving lanes for Gonzaga’s guards.

He's averaging 23.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game so far in the tournament on 75 percent shooting. If he continues on that clip, Gonzaga will win easily.

Can UCLA's bench step up?

Gonzaga is one of the deepest and most versatile teams in the country, and UCLA has one of the worst benches in the country. No one outside of the Bruins starting five averages four points per game, and only one player averages more than 1.5 points. That will put UCLA at a major disadvantage unless they can get a boost from someone off the bench.

Prediction: Gonzaga wins 87-78

Gonzaga’s offense can be stopped by disciplined defense, but that’s been UCLA’s problem all year. The Bulldogs will simply be able to shoot their way to a victory in this one.

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