This year’s March Madness upset region goes to the South. The 14th-seeded UAB Blazers win over Iowa State busted nearly every well managed bracket. A few short hours later, the 11th-seed in the South region, the 11th-seeded UCLA Bruins, punched their ticket to March Madness’ Round of 32 by stunning sixth-seed SMU with a late game comeback victory.
A Closer Look At The UAB Blazers vs UCLA Bruins March Madness Line, Against The Spread Free Pick & How To Watch
The Saturday after Thanksgiving this past year, UCLA beat UAB by a score of 88-76.
"It was the seventh-place game," Bruins forward Kevon Looney said. "I don’t think anybody was there watching. We were just playing."
No one could have imagined then, or even a few days ago, that these same two teams would be battling it out for the right to go to the Sweet 16 with the Bruins as 7-point favorites over the Blazers.
Matchup: (14) UAB Blazers vs (11) UCLA Bruins
Date: Mar. 21, 2015
Start Time: 12:10 p.m. ET
Location: Louisville, Kentucky
Stadium: KFC Yum! Center
TV Info: CBS
Radio: UAB Vs UCLA
Point Spread: Bruins -7
Game Total: 133.5
UAB Will Cover the 7-point Spread If
Harness the defensive energy from their R64 and unleash it on the Bruins.
By beating Iowa State 60 to 59, UAB provided the first great shock of the 2015 NCAA Tournament. As -14 point dogs, UAB shouldn’t have even been close to the Big 12 Champion Cyclones. Not only were they close, but they dominated one of the best offensive teams in all of college basketball.
— FOX Sports 1 (@FOXSports1) March 20, 2015
UAB is a young, enthusiastic squad. They played like it on Thursday and they’re going to have to play like it on Saturday if they hope to upset UCLA. The Blazers weren’t particularly good on offense in their win over Iowa State. They shot only 34.8% from the field and 16.7% from behind the three-point line. But the Blazers did hold Iowa State to 6 out of 23, 26.1% , from behind the arc and 36.9% from the field. More importantly, the Blazers put Iowa State on the free throw line only 7 times. UAB needs to bring that same energetic defense, without fouling, on Saturday in order to cover the spread.
2015 UAB Blazers March Madness Starting lineup
- G Robert Brown, 6-5, Jr., 12.8 ppg, 3.7 rpg
- G Hakeem Baxter, 6-2, So., 7.7 ppg, 3.0 rpg
- G Nick Norton, 5-10, Fr., 7.7 ppg, 3.9 apg
- F William Lee, 6-9, Fr., 7.6 ppg, 5.8 rpg
- F Tosin Mehinti, 6-9, So., 7.2 ppg, 4.8 rpg
- Coach: Jerod Haase (second season)
UCLA Will Cover the 7-point Spread If
UCLA can stop the Blazers from torching them from beyond the arch.
UCLA’s victory came about due to what appeared to be a bad call from a referee. Goaltending Gate could last for only a day if UCLA can’t beat UAB on Saturday and advance to the Sweet 16. The goaltending call on a play that looked like it wasn’t goaltending is why the Bruins get a shot against the Giant Killers from Alabama-Birmingham.
— UCLA Basketball (@UCLAMBB) March 20, 2015
There is one key stat in UCLA’s game versus SMU that could end their dance in the NCAA Tournament. UCLA allowed the Mustangs to shoot 43.8% from the three-point line. SMU hit 7 out of 16 three-point shots. The reason that the stat is important is because UAB took 18 three-point shots versus Iowa State and hit only 3. UAB figures to hit at a higher percentage against the Bruins. If UCLA allows UAB to score from behind the arc on a consistent basis, they could lose this game outright.
UCLA March Madness Starting lineup
- G Bryce Alford, 6-3, So., 15.1 ppg, 5.0 apg
- G Norman Powell, 6-4, Sr., 16.4 ppg, 4.7 rpg
- G Isaac Hamilton, 6-4, So., 10.7 ppg, 3.1 apg
- F Kevon Looney, 6-9, Fr., 11.8 ppg, 9.2 rpg
- F Tony Parker, 6-9, Jr., 11.8 ppg, 6.6 rpg
- Coach: Steve Alford (24th season)