Wright State vs. Arizona Odds, Picks, Predictions: Will Wildcats Roll In NCAA Tournament First Round?
Christopher Hook/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Dalen Terry.
- Will 1-seeded Arizona cruise to an easy victory against 16-seeded Wright State? Our college basketball analysts are betting on it.
- Find their picks and predictions for Friday's NCAA Tournament first-round matchup based on Arizona-Wright State odds below.
Wright State vs. Arizona Odds
|Wright State Odds|
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Arizona will take on Wright State after the Raiders defeated Bryant in their play-in game on Wednesday.
Wright State earned its way into the NCAA Tournament after winning the Horizon League. The program looked better than a 16-seed in its play-in victory, shutting down the nation’s leading scorer Peter Kiss.
The Raiders scored 93 points while hitting 48% from the field and 43% from behind the arc. But they will face an enormous step up in class when they match up against the Arizona Wildcats.
Arizona has looked like an unstoppable force that’s gone 31-3, while outscoring its opponents by an average of 17 points per game. The group plays at a blistering pace that has very few holes that opposing teams can expose.
Wright State will hope to play king-slayer in this matchup, but Arizona may have too many weapons for it to handle.
Wright State struggled at times throughout the season but really came on toward the end the year.
The Raiders struggled against the many zone defenses in the Horizon. They own a heavy post-up offense that worked through the excellent Grant Basile, and are very well coached under Scott Nagy.
Wright State started to figure out its non-post offense by February. It is one of four teams in the tournament that have two players who average over 35 points per game — Basile and the excellent Tanner Holden, who went off against Bryant in the play-in game.
Wright State prefers to play with pace — which could burn it against superior teams — but it has a good offense and is a well-coached team that will battle and not miss from the free throw line
This Tommy Lloyd-led Arizona team is something special. The Wildcats are one of the best teams in the country, with a dynamic offense and stalwart defense. If you try to run-and-gun, they’ll do it better and faster. If you try to slow the game down, good luck getting efficient looks.
Arizona plays at the eight-quickest tempo in the country and is 12th in transition offense. It plays unselfish basketball and assists on 65.4% of all field goals.
Much of its success comes from attacking the rim and cleaning up on the offensive glass.
The Wildcats rank fifth in 2-point percentage and 16th in offensive rebounding rate, and much of that has to do with Christian Koloko and Azuolas Tubelis. They are quick in the interior and are elite at creating second-chance opportunities, both sitting inside the top 10 in offensive rebounding rate in Pac-12 play.
Tack on Bennedict Mathurin, the sophomore star who shoots 38.3% from 3 and takes 26% of all shots while on the floor, and this offense is as well-balanced as it comes.
But the Wildcats’ defense is also important to note. Koloko is one of the best rim protectors in college basketball, and his presence often deters opponents from attacking inside.
Arizona has the third-best 2-point defense, per KenPom, and sits in the top 10 defensively at defending cuts, post-up moves and finishes at the rim, per ShotQuality.
The Cats also sit 10th in half-court defense, the perfect recipe for blowout wins. Arizona doesn’t stop running up the score, and teams that cannot match the tempo quickly fall behind. When those opponents try to run offensive sets, they’re often unsuccessful.
It’s important to note that starting point guard Kerr Kriisa’s status is up in the air for the Round of 64 after he suffered an ankle sprain in the Pac-12 Tournament. Though a streaky shooter, he leads the team with 4.9 assists per game and is the main facilitator for this offense.
Without him, playmaking duties will fall on Georgia transfer Justin Kier.
Wright State vs. Arizona Betting Pick
Wright State was able to expose the ever-evolving Bryant defense with its great ball movement. But scoring inside the paint is going to be a serious issue in this matchup.
The Wildcats have a dominant front court consisting of Tubelis and Koloko. The duo has led Arizona to the third-ranked 2-point defense, holding opponents to 42%. They also defend without fouling.
That aspect will be key, as Wright State finds 75% of its points from inside the perimeter and the charity stripe. Holden, who scored 37 points against Bryant, leads the nation making 215 free throws on the season. Arizona has the length and discipline to defend him without sending him to the charity stripe.
The Wildcats are poised to dominate on the interior against a Wright State defense that ranks 263rd in 2-point defense. Behind its lightning-quick pace, they’re poised to find a blowout victory in the opening round.
Pick: Arizona -21 (Play to -23)
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