NCAA Tournament Second Round Odds & Picks for TCU vs. Arizona: Wildcats to Shut Down Horned Frogs?
Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Bennedict Mathurin.
- No. 1 seeded Arizona takes on TCU in a second-round NCAA Tournament battle.
- The Horned Frogs are coming off of a beatdown of No. 8 seeded Seton Hall in the first round.
- Kyle Remillard previews the game and offers up his best bet.
TCU vs. Arizona Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
No. 9 seed TCU cruised to a 27-point victory over No. 8 seed Seton Hall in the first round. Now, it has a dance with powerhouse Arizona, which has lost just three games all season.
Nine-seeds haven’t fared well against one-seeds in the history of the tournament, winning just seven of the 74 total matchups. However, TCU has some established wins over some of the top teams in the country in Texas Tech and Kansas.
The Horned Frogs boast one of the top defenses in the country and held Seton Hall to just 42 points in their first-round matchup. But slowing down the high-powered Arizona offense is a whole other challenge.
Arizona cruised to an 87-70 victory over Wright State in its first-round matchup. Though the program is still without Kriisa Kerr, who is nursing an ankle injury, the Wildcats still have unlimited firepower.
TCU has hung with some elite programs this season, but the offense is sporadic. If the Horned Frogs come out slow, it could make for a long night in the second round.
The Horned Frogs finished the season 21-12, but some marquee victories helped boost their resume to make it tournament-worthy.
The Horned Frogs leaned on their dominant defense in the first round, holding Seton Hall to 29% shooting from the field while forcing 16 turnovers to advance.
That defensive effort was no anomaly, as TCU owns the 15th-best defensive efficiency ranking, according to KenPom. It defends well, holding opponents to 31% from deep and 48% on 2-point attempts — both rank inside the top 100 nationally.
But offensively, the Horned Frogs have some serious flaws. The group turns the ball over at the 336th-highest rate in the nation. They rank outside the top 300 in both 3-point percentage and free-throw percentage. That’s a major issue against an Arizona defense that dominates the interior.
The offense is solely reliant on scoring inside the paint, where it has found 58% of its total points this season.
Mike Miles is a capable scorer who can find points in bunches. He averaged 15 points per game this season and went off for 21 on 9-of-18 shooting against Seton Hall.
Arizona is elite on both ends of the floor and has smothered opponents with its relentless pace. There are really no holes to exploit on either end of the floor.
Arizona boasts the third-best scoring offense in the country, averaging 85 points per game. The Wildcats have twin towers on the inside in 6-foot-11 Azuolas Tubelis and 7-foot-1 Christian Koloko.
The duo has combined to average 27 points and 14 rebounds per game. Koloko is the true rim protector, as he has swatted nearly three shots per game.
The duo helped Arizona connect on 57% of its 2-point field goals, which is fifth-best in the nation. It has also snatched offensive boards on 35% of its misses, which is a top-20 mark.
Bennedict Mathurin leads the team in scoring, putting up 17 points per game, while connecting on 38% of his outside shots. He will need to pick up some of the slack with fellow sniper Kriisa still nursing an ankle injury.
Not easy but doing everything I can to get back on the court with my brothers! Its March. Time to go!! @JustinKUofA pic.twitter.com/DdUOsbOkW9
— Kerr (@KerrKriisa) March 14, 2022
Defensively, the Wildcats should own a significant advantage over TCU. The Horned Frogs find 58% of their points inside the arc. Arizona owns the second-best 2-point field goal defense in the country, holding opponents to 42% on such shot attempts.
TCU vs. Arizona Betting Pick
Overall, this is a monumental task for TCU if it wants to upset Arizona in this matchup.
TCU will need to dominate on the defensive end of the floor, specifically winning the turnover battle. In Arizona’s three losses, it turned the ball over 14 times or more to Colorado, UCLA and Tennessee. But that would require the Horned Frogs to not cough the ball up themselves, something they’ve done all season.
The Frogs offense is reliant on its scoring inside the paint, but no opponent has been able to penetrate Arizona’s interior defense all season.
Though the Wildcats have one of the youngest rosters in the country, they share the basketball like a group that’s played together for years. The offense has assisted on 65% of its made field goals, good for the second-highest rate in the country.
Arizona will shut down the TCU offense and should find plenty of transition opportunities to turn this one into a rout early.
Pick: Arizona -9.5 (Play to -11)
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