UNC vs. UCLA Updated Prediction and Odds for NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen (Surging Tar Heels Take Bruins Down)

Caleb Love and North Carolina are soaring as they take on UCLA in the Sweet 16
Caleb Love and North Carolina are soaring as they take on UCLA in the Sweet 16 / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

Perhaps the most interesting matchup of the Sweet 16 tips off on Friday, March 25th, at 9:39 p.m. EST between the No. 8 North Carolina Tar Heels and the No. 4 UCLA Bruins.

In the game of the tournament so far, the Tar Heels withstood a 25-point comeback to beat No. 1 Baylor in overtime. They're firing on all cylinders and just beat Duke by 13 in the ACC Tournament earlier this month.

UCLA was impressive in its win over Saint Mary's but barely squeaked by Akron in the opening round. Even still, the Bruins have won 10 of their last dozen contests and are finally fully healthy.

Can the Bruins take advantage of their good health to slow the Tar Heels down or will North Carolina keep it rolling and add UCLA to their list of victims?

Let's check out the odds over at WynnBET, as well as each team's statistical profile to find some value in this East Region Sweet 16 matchup:

UNC vs. UCLA Odds, Spread, and Total


  • UNC +2.5 (-110)
  • UCLA -2.5 (-110)


  • UNC +120
  • UCLA -145


  • 142.5 (Over -110/Under -110)

UNC vs. UCLA Analysis


  • Regular Season Record: 24-9
  • ATS Record:16-16-1
  • Over/Under Record: 19-14
  • SoS: 37th
  • Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 113.0
  • Defensive Efficiency: 97.0
  • eFG%: 52.1%
  • FT%: 77.2%
  • 3PT%: 36.2%
  • Last Year’s Tournament Result: First Round (Lost to Wisconsin)
  • Odds to win National Championship: +2000


  • Overall Record: 25-7
  • ATS Record:17-14-1
  • Over/Under Record: 16-16
  • SoS: 14th
  • Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 116.1
  • Defensive Efficiency: 91.2
  • eFG%: 50.6%
  • FT%: 73.6%
  • 3PT%: 35.1%
  • Last Year’s Tournament Result: Final Four (Lost to Gonzaga)
  • Odds to win National Championship: +1200

UNC vs. UCLA Prediction and Pick

The Bruins are on upset alert. Their defense has struggled of late, ranking in the 39th percentile in rating over their last five games. Rebounding has been a problem too and they're at a huge disadvantage against a Tar Heels team that has the second-best defensive rebounding rate in the country.

That rebounding advantage will allow North Carolina to control the pace -- given that UCLA prefers a much slower tempo, I think the Tar Heels can make them uncomfortable with their electric style.

North Carolina's offense is on fire and its ball movement has been fantastic as it is in the 100th percentile in assist percentage (how many of the Tar Heels' baskets come from an assist) over the team's last five games. But it's the Tar Heels' defense that has really impressed, jumping from a 47th-percentile ranking in rating on the season up to the 87th.

They're poised to knock off the Bruins and look like one of the best teams in college basketball. Give me Tar Heels to stay hot and cover the spread for the seventh time in their last eight games.

Pick: North Carolina +2.5 (-110)

Follow all of Joe Summers' betting picks here.

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