2006 NCAA Basketball Championship Preview and Pick ]]> include($base_url . “/includes/header.htm”); ?>
|Florida (32-6) -2, o/u 127 vs. UCLA (32-6), 9:20 p.m. Eastern, CBS |
by Ultimatecapper.com Staff
The NCAA men’s basketball season comes to a close Monday night when the UCLA Bruins, champions of the PAC 10, take on the Florida Gators, champs of the SEC, in the Division 1 national championship game at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis.
Both teams come into the game on a roll. UCLA has won 12 games in a row, including victories over Belmont, Alabama, Gonzaga, Memphis and LSU in the NCAA tournament. Florida has looked darn good in beating South Alabama, UW-Milwaukee, Georgetown, Villanova and George Mason to reach this title game.
The Gators started the season 17-0, then went through a 5-6 stretch, but now have won 10 games in a row. Florida finished second in the SEC East this season, then won the conference tournament.
UCLA won both the PAC 10 regular season and tournament titles this season.
Saturday, UCLA stifled LSU 59-45 in a national semi-final in a game that wasn’t even that close. The Bruins led at one point by 24 points.
Florida struck midnight on George Mason’s Cinderella run Saturday, out-rebounding the Patriots 40-27 and leading by 17 at one point early in the second half.
UCLA has beaten a pair of SEC 10 teams already in the tournament. The Bruins held off Alabama 62-59 in the second round, and knocked off LSU Saturday. Florida beat LSU twice this season, and lost its only encounter with Alabama.
Both teams also played Albany (which qualified for the NCAA tournament by winning the American East Conference title) way back in November. The Gators beat the Great Danes 83-64, while the Bruins won their encounter 73-65.
Both teams have been very kind to bettors this season. Florida is 21-11 against the spread this season, 18-9 ats as favorites. UCLA is 22-12 against the spread this season, 9-2 ats as underdogs and 8-3 straight up when getting points.
The Gators are limiting opponents to just 40% shooting from the field this season, and own a +5.4 rebounds per game margin.
UCLA has held 11 of its last 12 opponents to 60 points or less, and in its last two games limited both Memphis and LSU to 45 points each. On the season, the Bruins are limiting opponents to 41% shooting from the field and outrebounding foes by +4.8 per game.
The Gators are shooting 50% from the field this season (best in Division 1), 39% from 3-point range and 74% from the free-throw line.
The Bruins are shooting 48% from the floor on the season, 35% from the 3-point line and 69% from the free-throw line.
UCLA starts two seniors, two sophomores and a freshman. Florida starts four sophomores and a junior.
The Sagarin PREDICTOR ratings at usatoday.com ranks Florida #2 at 92.4, UCLA #6 at 80.9. The Sagarin conference rankings rate the SEC as the best out of 31 D1 leagues, the PAC 10 fifth-best.
The under is a collective 40-24 in Florida and UCLA games this season.
The Ultimatecapper.com Pick: We’re fading the line movement here and taking Florida. Good luck!