Princeton vs Arizona Odds & Picks: How to Bet This First-Round Tilt

Princeton vs Arizona Odds & Picks: How to Bet This First-Round Tilt article feature image

Getty Images. Design by Matt Roembke/Action Network. Pictured from left: Azuolas Tubelis of Arizona and Tosan Evbuomwan of Princeton.

  • The No. 15 seed Princeton Tigers look to cause an upset in the first round of the NCAA Tournament when they take on the No. 2 seed Arizona Wildcats.
  • The Wildcats unsurprisingly enter this matchup against the Ivy League Tournament champions as double-digit favorites.
  • Read on for Alex Hinton's full betting preview and pick for Princeton vs Arizona.

Princeton vs Arizona Odds

Thursday, March 16
4:10 p.m. ET
Princeton Odds
-110o / -110u
Arizona Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via bet365. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

Last season, Princeton returned to action and ran through the Ivy League, going 23-7 and 12-2 on the way to a way to a regular-season title. However, it suffered heartbreak when it lost the Ivy League Tournament title game, 66-64, to Yale.

This season, the Tigers finished tied for first place in the regular season, but were the two seed in the conference tournament.

Princeton avenged last year's loss to Yale with a 74-65 victory in the conference tournament title game. It clinched its third NCAA tournament bid in the last 15 years and the 26th in school history.

Princeton will enter the Big Dance at 21-8 and earned a 15-seed.

Princeton will face the Arizona Wildcats, the No. 2 seed in the South Region. Last season, Arizona entered the NCAA tournament as a No. 1 seed with high hopes of cutting down the nets, but it was upset by Houston in the Sweet 16.

After winning the Pac-12 Tournament for the second year in a row, the Wildcats will enter the NCAA tournament with high expectations once again.

This will be the second meeting between the programs, with Arizona winning the first meeting, 54-41, in 1997.

Arizona is a heavy favorite to win this matchup, as well.

Princeton Tigers

The Tigers are no strangers to pulling off upsets in the NCAA tournament.

In 1996, head coach Mitch Henderson was a player on the Princeton team that knocked off then-defending national champion UCLA in the first round.

In 2017, Henderson's squad nearly knocked off a Notre Dame team that was a five seed. You can expect that Henderson will have his team ready.

This year's Princeton squad has a veteran-laded roster featuring three double-digit scorers.

Senior forward Tosan Evbuomwan leads the team in scoring (15 points per game) and assists (4.8). He also averages 6.2 rebounds per game and does most of his damage inside.

As a team, Princeton shoots 53.5% on 2-point attempts and ranks 53rd nationally.

Princeton is an average 3-point shooting team at 34%. Guard Matt Allocco shoots 42% from beyond the arc. Guard Ryan Langborg has knocked down over 50 triples this season, as well.

Princeton may need to rely on 3s a bit more in this matchup than it is accustomed to. It will be undersized in the frontcourt against Arizona, which could make it difficult to score around the rim.

The size difference could also hurt Princeton at the other end.

Princeton ranks holds opponents to 47% on 2-point attempts and ranks ninth in defensive rebounding percentage. However, I would be surprised if Princeton had success against Arizona in either area.

In fact, Princeton may struggle to get many stops in this matchup. Princeton ranks 334rd in turnovers forced — with just 10.4 per game — and it's also 349th in turnover percentage.

Overall, the Tigers are 137th in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency.

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Arizona Wildcats

Arizona enters the NCAA tournament with the fourth-most efficient offense in the country. That is largely a byproduct of having the best frontcourt in the country.

Forward Azuolas Tubelis is averaging 19.8 points and 9.3 rebounds per game this season. Center Oumar Ballo is not far behind at 14.2 points and 8.5 rebounds per game.

Arizona ranks third nationally in effective field goal percentage (56.8) and ninth in 2-point field goal percentage (56.6). The Wildcats are also shooting 38.2% from 3, which ranks 14th nationally.

Guard Courtney Ramey leads the Pac-12 in 3s made and is shooting 41% from deep. In the Pac-12 Tournament title game, Ramey only knocked down one shot, but it was the game-winning 3.

Ramey will look to carry that momentum into the NCAA tournament. He is a double-digit scorer along with guards Kerr Kriisa and Pelle Larsson.

Kriisa leads the team with 5.2 assists per game. As a team, Arizona is second nationally with 19.2 assists per game.

Arizona's tempo helps it rack up those gaudy offensive numbers. It ranks ninth nationally in Adjusted Tempo and 14th in shortest average possession length offensively.

However, it also gives teams a lot of opportunities to score against it, as well.

Arizona allows 71.5 points per game and ranks 224th in scoring defense. However, it ranks 41st in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency.

The Wildcats are also 28th in 2-point percentage. That will serve them well in this matchup.

Princeton vs Arizona Betting Pick

Arizona's game is getting up and down and lighting up the scoreboard.

When it has the ball, Princeton will likely look to slow the game down. However, it will not disrupt Arizona's offense much.

If Arizona is able to run-and-gun, it could be a long afternoon for Princeton.

In this matchup, I am expecting a big game from Tubelis. He will have a four-to-five inch height advantage over the forwards Princeton throws at him. He is also great in transition.

Arizona's size advantage will benefit it defensively, as well. Princeton should struggle scoring around the rim, particularly if Ballo is not in foul trouble. He is one of the better shot blockers in the country.

I expect Arizona to dictate the terms of this matchup, and it should cruise to an opening-round victory.

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