Wildcats vs. Tigers College Hoops Odds Preview and Game AnalysisVenue: 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.