UCLA basketball players celebrate their win over BYU after a first-round game in the NCAA college basketball tournament at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Saturday, March 20, 2021. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
- The Gonzaga Bulldogs have opened as 14-point favorites over the UCLA Bruins in their NCAA Tournament Final Four semifinal on Saturday, April 3rd
- With a 30-0 record, the Zags have won 29 games by double-digit margins this season
- UCLA is in the Final Four for the first time since 2007-08
Forget about the Final Four. The way the Gonzaga Bulldogs are rolling, they could probably take out the Fantastic Four and then topple the winner of Godzilla vs King Kong.
First things first, though. Next up for the 30-0 Zags on their apparent date with destiny are the UCLA Bruins in the Final Four semifinal on Saturday, April 3rd. Gonzaga were established as 14-point favorites in the opening line on this game. That jumped to Gonzaga -14.5 within moments of the line being posted.
Saturday’s tipoff time is 5:00 pm ET. The game will be played at Lucas Oil Stadium and CBS is carrying the broadcast.
UCLA vs Gonzaga Final Four Opening Odds
|UCLA||+700||+14 (-107)||O 146.0 (-110)|
|Gonzaga||-1250||-14 (-113)||U 146.0 (-110)|
Odds as of March 31st at DraftKings.
Gonzaga’s Pursuit Of Perfection
Not only are the Zags 30-0 this season, they’ve won by double digits 29 times. Their closest call so far was an 87-82 victory over #13-ranked West Virginia on December 2nd.
In the KenPom ratings, Gonzaga is #1 in adjusted offense (122.8) and #4 in adjusted defense (86.0). The Bulldogs are also #1 in effective field-goal percentage (61.0) and in two-point field-goal percentage (63.7).
Gonzaga has captured its four NCAA Tournament games by an average margin of 24 points. They blasted USC 85-66 in the Elite Eight.
The Zags have now won 27 consecutive games by double-digit margins. That’s an NCAA Division I record.
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Bruin Up Upsets
Gonzaga is seeking to become the first unbeaten NCAA champions since the 1975-76 Indiana Hoosiers. Closing out its perfect campaign, Indiana defeated the Michigan Wolverines in the championship game.
The Bulldogs won’t get a chance to take out the Wolverines. Instead, they’ll get a showdown with the winningest program in NCAA Tournament history. UCLA edged Michigan 51-49 in their Elite Eight matchup.
The Bruins own a record 11 NCAA titles, but none since 1995 and just once since 1975. The majority of their previous winners were powerhouses much like the Gonzaga team that UCLA will be facing in the Final Four.
This UCLA team is on a upsetting mission. The Bruins, an 11 seed, won a play-in game over Michigan State as an underdog and have won four straight since. They were only a betting favorite once, in the second round against Abilene Christian.
Anticipating Bulldog Prowess
This is the first time all season that UCLA is being offered as a double-digit point underdog. The Bruins are 6-3 against the spread as a betting underdog this season.
UCLA is the fifth #11 seed to advance to the Final Four. The previous quartet all went down to defeat and didn’t leave a legacy of competitiveness in their wake.
LSU (1986) lost by 11 points. George Mason (2006) was vanquished by 15. Virginia Commonwealth (2011) gave the best accounting of themselves, losing by eight points. Loyola Chicago (2018) fell by 12.
🚨 NEW RECORD 🚨
Gonzaga sets an NCAA record with its 5th straight 30-win season! #MarchMadness pic.twitter.com/pszWwwkrYn
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 31, 2021
Consider that Gonzaga just beat USC by 19. On February 6th, USC smacked UCLA by 18 points. Then again, UCLA only lost by a point to the Trojans on March 6th. Nonetheless, the Bruins still lost twice to a team that Gonzaga handled with ease.
The quick movement in the line after it opened is a sign of what’s likely to come. Considering Gonzaga has already covered a dozen times this season as a double-digit point favorite, bookmakers will likely be required to grow the point spread even larger in order to get any serious action on UCLA.
An industry veteran, Bob literally taught the course on the history of sports at Elder College. He has worked as a Sports Columnist for Postmedia, appeared as a guest on several radio stations, was the Vice President of the Society For International Hockey Research in Ontario, and written 25 books.