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No. 4 UCLA vs. No. 8 North Carolina preview, picks for Sweet 16 of 2022 NCAA Tournament

The UCLA Bruins and North Carolina Tar Heels meet at the Wells Fargo Center in the Sweet 16 round of the 2022 NCAA Tournament. We’ve got everything you need on both teams ahead of the game here.

North Carolina Tar Heels guard Leaky Black (1) and North Carolina Tar Heels forward Armando Bacot (5) celebrate after defeating the Baylor Bears during the second round of the 2022 NCAA Tournament at Dickies Arena. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Two of the most historic brands in college basketball will take the floor for a Sweet 16 matchup from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on Friday night. The game is set to tip off at approximately 9:39 p.m. ET and will air on CBS with the Bruins as slight favorites according to DraftKings Sportsbook.

No. 4 UCLA Bruins: 27-7 (15-5 Pac-12):

First round result: 57-53 vs. Akron
Second round result: 72-56 vs. Saint Mary’s
KenPom rating: 8 Overall, 12 Offense, 13 Defense
NET ranking: 10, (5-4 Vs. Quad 1)
Leading scorer: Johnny Juzang (15.7 ppg)
Key stat: Tyger Campbell is shooting 41.3% from three-point range this season.

The UCLA Bruins followed a poor offensive performance against the No. 13 Akron Zips with an impressive effort in their second round game against the No. 5 seed Saint Mary’s Gaels. UCLA shot 56.5% from the floor and turned the ball over just 6 times to advance to the second weekend.

Jaime Jaquez Jr. is the team’s second-leading scorer and best defender, but he left the last game with a foot injury. Check for injury reports prior to game time.

Watch for UCLA to slow this game down and play at their pace as North Carolina loves to speed things up in their offense.

No. 8 North Carolina Tar Heels: 26-9 (15-5 ACC):

First round result: 95-63 vs. Marquette
Second round result: 93-86 vs. Baylor (OT)
KenPom rating: 20 Overall, 20 Offense, 42 Defense
NET ranking: 31, (3-8 Vs. Quad 1)
Leading scorer: Armando Bacot (16.4 ppg)
Key stat: Armando Bacot ranks No. 2 nationally in double-doubles with 27.

The North Carolina Tar Heels hammered the No. 9 seed Marquette Golden Eagles by 32 points, and they are the only team to take down a No. 1 seed as they hung on to beat the defending champion Baylor Bears in overtime behind a 44% three-point shooting performance on 25 attempts.

RJ Davis went off for 30 points against Baylor and if they can get another big performance from their fourth-leading scorer, North Carolina is a dangerous team.

Watch for North Carolina to get plenty of second-chance opportunities as they rank No. 6 nationally in rebounding margin.

Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook

Point spread: UCLA -2.5
Point total: 141.5
Moneyline: UCLA -140, North Carolina +120

The Pick

Against The Spread Pick: UCLA -2.5
Point total pick: Over 141.5
Pick to Win: UCLA

UCLA has the March Madness experience advantage coming off a Final Four run in Mick Cronin’s first NCAA Tournament, while Hubert Davis is in Year 1 coaching the Tar Heels. We’ll give the slight edge to the Bruins to cover this number. Even if Jaquez is able to play for UCLA, he probably won’t be at 100%, and his biggest contributions come on the defensive end. North Carolina rates No. 31 in KenPom’s adjusted tempo, and enough points will be scored to surpass the total.

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