(4) Villanova at (2) UCLA
For Villanova, the experience in the backcourt with Collin Gillespie will be a major component attacking the UCLA defense. Also, the emergence of Justin Moore will be vital against UCLA with him becoming more consistent. Additionally, Jermaine Samuels and Brandon Slater will need to have strong performances against the UCLA wings. Also, Eric Dixon will need to be able to handle his own against Myles Johnson and his ability to dominate in the lane. The depth of Villanova is not as strong as UCLA, therefore needing Caleb Daniels to be able to provide offense off the bench. Villanova’s defense in this game will be critical for them to get the win at UCLA.
First off, for UCLA the ability for Tyger Campbell to initiate their offense and defend Collin Gillespie add a high level is vital. The ability for Johnny Juzang to be a go-to scorer in his matchup against Justin Moore will be a major aspect throughout the game. Next, the size and skill of Jaime Jaquez should be on display against Jermaine Samuels in another great matchup. The interior for UCLA could be a major strength in this game needing Myles Johnson to be a major factor on both ends. Furthermore, the play of Peyton Watson could be an X factor for UCLA adding a difficult matchup for Villanova defensively. The ability for UCLA to defend the perimeter scoring of Villanova is going to be key throughout.
Both teams are extremely experienced as Villanova and UCLA will be looking to get a marquee win on their resume. UCLA will come away with the win with their versatility on the perimeter and Myles Johnson’s defense.
Matchup to Watch: Jermaine Samuels vs Jaime Jaquez Jr.
Prediction: UCLA 84 Villanova 78
(5) Texas vs (1) Gonzaga
This will be the first major test for Chris Beard in Texas and it begins with Gonzaga. Now, the versatility of the frontcourt with Christian Bishop and Tre Mitchell will be critical against the Gonzaga frontcourt. Next, the backcourt of Courtney Ramey and Andrew Jones will have a major advantage with experience against the Gonzaga perimeter. Along with, Marcus Carr at the point guard position giving scoring and playmaking ability for Texas. The biggest key for Texas could be Timmy Allen with size against the Gonzaga perimeter could cause problems. If Texas can consistently defend around the basket it will go a long way towards potentially beating Gonzaga.
For Gonzaga, the frontcourt will be the foundational aspect of Gonzaga with Drew Timme and Chet Holmgren. Now, their ability to play with versatility against the Texas frontcourt is going to be key in this game. Also, the Gonzaga perimeter will have a major challenge against an experience and deep Texas backcourt. Therefore, Andrew Nembhard and Rasir Bolton will be vital in providing stability and scoring for Gonzaga. Next, the ability for Julian Strawther to match up against Timmy Allen will be intriguing to watch within this game. Furthermore, the depth of Gonzaga will be tested with Nolan Hickman and Hunter Salis being talented freshmen who will need time to develop.
The depth of Texas and overall experience is going to lead to a major win for Chris Beard over Gonzaga. As well as, the mismatch that Timmy Allen will provide on both ends.
Matchup to Watch: Drew Timme vs Christian Bishop
Prediction: Texas 81 Gonzaga 78
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