Maui Invitational Odds, Picks | Betting Preview for San Diego State vs. Arizona
Photo by Darryl Oumi/Getty Images. Pictured: Oumar Ballo (Arizona)
San Diego State vs. Arizona Odds
The bottom half of the Maui Invitational bracket had the potential to give us one of the best possible matchups in college basketball so far this season.
And it delivered.
On Tuesday night, we will see two teams who are both undefeated at 4-0 and are ranked inside the top 20 match up in the semifinals.
Arizona is one of the top-10 offenses in the nation while San Diego State is one of the top-10 defenses in the nation. The Wildcats rank No. 1 in Adjusted Tempo while the Aztecs are 331st in possession length on defense.
In a battle of completely opposite styles of play, which team can dictate the game? Which team controls the pace? Whoever does likely gets themselves to the Maui Invitational final.
The Aztecs may be a defense-first team, but that doesn't mean they lack on offense by any means.
San Diego State is averaging 81 points per game, and in its most recent game against Ohio State, its offense looked the best it has had all season.
The Aztecs' defense wasn't as strong as it's been leading up to that game, but that's likely due to the step up in competition.
Prior to the Ohio State game, two out of three teams the Aztecs played had been held to less than 65 points. I don't see them holding the elite offense of Arizona to less than 70, but this will be a massive step up in defense from what the Wildcats have seen so far.
The Wildcats are averaging an insane 104.3 points per game so far this season — the next closest team is Iowa, which is putting up 96 a game.
The Wildcats' team is loaded with elite scorers. There's too many to list, with six different players averaging double-digit points through the first four games.
And much like how San Diego State isn't lacking in scoring alongside its elite defense, the Wildcats have a solid defense of their own. Arizona ranks 56th in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency — specifically, it's been great around the rim.
The Wildcats are the 29th-best team in the nation when it comes to opposing team rebounds, holding their opponents to an average of just 29 boards per game.
Along with that, they've been one of the best at coming down with rebounds, averaging 42.8 per game (ranking inside the top-25 nationally).
San Diego State vs Arizona Pick
I think Arizona's advantage over San Diego State in rebounding will be enough to win the Wildcats this game.
The Wildcats do struggle when it comes to offensive rebounding — posting an offensive rebound percentage of just 29.4% — but the Aztecs are even worse at 23.2%.
Even with how slow San Diego State plays and the strength of its defense, I don't think it's enough to stop this Wildcats team. It wasn't enough to stop Ohio State, which is significantly worse on offense and lacks the experience of this Arizona team.
Back the Wildcats as high as a 2.5-point favorite to move on to the championship of the Maui Invitational.