In spite of note being able to secure a No. 1 seed, the No. 2 Arizona Wildcats (31-3) are one of the biggest favorites in the NCAAB lines released so far this week, placed as 23-point favorites over the No. 15 Texas Southern Tigers (22-12). Can the Wildcats reward their bettors by winning and covering the large spread, or will the Tigers prove to be too much for Arizona? Read on the NCAAB betting preview given below to find out.
Wildcats vs. Tigers College Hoops Odds Preview and Game Analysis
Venue: Rose Garden – Portland, Oregon
Date: Thursday, March 19, 2015
Time: 2:10 PM ET
TV: Turner Network Television (TNT)
Opening Line: Arizona -22.5
.@tannerlundell ESPN’s BPI gives Arizona a 7% chance to win the title (6th-highest of any team).
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 19, 2015
Both the Wildcats and Tigers are riding on parallel 11-game winning streaks. Portland’s last victory, an emphatic 80-52 win, came against Oregon in Pac-12’s postseason championship—a game that saw Brandon Ashley being named as the Pac-12 Tournament’s most outstanding player. Texas Southern, on the other hand, earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament courtesy of a 68-58 victory over Southern in the Southwestern Athletic Conference final, giving them their second successive league tournament title.
More notably, Arizona ended its season on a remarkable 9-2 ATS run and managed to cover all the last four games it was favored to win by 20-plus points. Therefore, even though the spread looks too deep to be covered by Arizona, the Wildcats have enough depth in players like Ashley to go the distance. Plus, after coming off a 28-point win over the tough Oregon, and with 14 regular-season Pac-12 titles and 5 conference tournament championships to their name, finding a convincing victory over the lowly-ranked Texas Southern shouldn’t be a problem.
Still, the Wildcats must be aware that the Tigers are a highly competitive team, having recorded quality road wins over elite teams like Kansas State and Michigan State this season. Meanwhile, Arizona’s three losses this season came against unranked opponents (Arizona State, Oregon State and UNLV), which could motivate the Tigers for a solid showing and a probable upset over the Wildcats.
Also, Texas Southern’s main player, Madarious Gibbs, was named as SWAC’s Player of the Year, averaging 14.2 PPG and 4.3 APG to his name. Having shown a lot of quality this year against elite opponents, it is undoubtable that Gibbs and his industrious teams will be a handful to Arizona’s agressive-but-permeable defense.
Note: The winner of this game will go on to meet the victor of Thursday’s other West region game between VCU and Ohio State.
Arizona vs Texas Southern Key Betting Trends
• Arizona went 11-0 SU and 9-2 ATS over its last 11 games
• Texas Southern went 11-0 SU in its last 11 games and 6-4 ATS in its last 10 games
• Arizona is 13-3 ATS in its last 16 games as a favorite
• Arizona is 4-0 ATS in its last four games as a favorite of 20 points or more
• Arizona has advanced 16 times to the Sweet 16, 10 times to the Elite Eight, and 4 times to the Final Four
• Last season, Texas Southern fell to Cal Poly in its NCAA Tournament opener
• Overall Arizona is 12-5 as a No. 2 seed
• The total has gone UNDER in 3 of Arizona’s last 5 games
This game has all the hallmarks of a blowout win by Arizona, going by the wildly talented nature of the Wildcats’ team. Even with relentless pressure from the streaking Tigers, Arizona will win this game rather easily, comfortably picking both the SU and ATS in the process. The total should, however, stay UNDER as Arizona’s defense keeps things tight to limit Texas Southern from putting up decent points on the scoreboard.