(1) Gonzaga vs (6) USC
Line: Gonzaga –8.5
Time: 7:15 PM
The tournament favorite, Gonzaga, is one game away from the program’s second Final Four. The offensive juggernaut has coasted through this season with the only undefeated record in the country. They have 3 All-Americans who can take over the game at any time and are surrounded by a great supporting cast. They will push the pace all game and the higher scoring the contest is, the better chance they have of winning. Timme will have his hands full with the Mobley brothers down low while Suggs and Kispert will control the game’s guard aspect. If Gonzaga can play their style of basketball they will head to the Final Four
USC has had a great run to make it to the Elite Eight. They have taken down great teams, including Kansas and Oregon while looking as polished on offense as they have all season. They have not burdened future lottery pick, Evan Mobley, with too much responsibility and have gotten scoring from every position. Their main issue is they play a very similar pace to Gonzaga and the Zags have proven that they are the best in the country at what they do. USC will need to knock down a lot of 3’s and control the game down low to beat the Zags.
(1) Michigan vs (11) UCLA
Line: Michigan –6.5
Time: 9:57 PM
The second game of the night also features a number 1 seed, but UCLA is no stranger to an upset. Michigan came into the NCAA tournament without their second-leading scorer Isaiah Livers, but freshman center Hunter Dickinson and sophomore guard Franz Winger have stepped up. Furthermore, the Michigan offense has six players averaging more than 10 points in the tournament, including three who have significantly improved performance since the beginning of the dance. Coached well by Juwan Howard, the Big Ten Coach of the Year, the Michigan Wolverines play an offense focus on ball movement and their elite center Dickinson. Although their best deep threat in Livers is out, Michigan is still dangerous from beyond the arc, and defenders Wagner and Eli Brooks can shut down opposing guards.
The UCLA Bruins have five players averaging more than 10 points per game and Johnny Juzang is averaging 20 points in the tournament. Also elevating his play in the NCAA tournament is sophomore Jaime Jaquez Jr, averaging 16.8 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. The addition of David Singleton breaking out of his shooting slump with 15 points against Alabama has the Bruins in fine form for another upset. To cause that upset though, UCLA will have to get hot from deep. That may not be a problem for the Bruins because they have hit more than 35 percent of their attempts beyond in the arc in three of their last four games of the tournament. Michigan has shown vulnerability in the past when they lost to Ohio State who hit 54.5 percent of their attempts from deep and pulled off a surprise victory against the Wolverines in the Big Ten Tournament.