Princeton vs Arizona March Madness Betting Preview
Wildcats Prohibitive Favorites over Tigers
Princeton vs Arizona looks like a mismatch on paper and the sportsbooks agree. The March Madness betting odds have Arizona as 14.5-point favorites over Princeton in Thursday’s game played in Sacramento, California at 4:10 p.m. ET. The second-seeded Wildcats are -1190 on the moneyline and the total on the game is 154.5 in this South Region matchup. The game will be televised by TNT. (Odds change frequently, be sure to check for the most up to date changes.)
Princeton: Tigers No Longer Slowdown Team
The Princeton Tigers aren’t the slow, deliberate team of old. Princeton doesn’t run up-and-down court, but they also have departed from the slowdown days and are pretty average in terms of pace. The Tigers are a little above average offensively and defensively, although the caliber of their competition leaves a bit to be desired.
Princeton is no stranger to the NCAA Tournament, as they’re making their 26th appearance. The Tigers don’t get there as often as they did in the past, as Thursday’s game marks their fifth appearance since 2001. The Tigers haven’t advanced to the Sweet 16 since 1965.
How They Got Here
Despite having 21 wins on the season, the Tigers had to win the Ivy League Conference Tournament to earn its bid to the Big Dance. The Ivy League isn’t nearly strong enough overall to send more than the conference winner.
The Tigers were 15-12 against the spread this season after covering their last four games of the year. The Tigers finished on a 7-2 ATS run.
How Far Will They Go
The Tigers are in all reality looking at a one-and-done scenario. The Wildcats simply have too much talent to fall in this one. Keeping the game close is a more realistic goal for Princeton.
Arizona: The Wildcats Are Getting Offensive
When you look at the Arizona Wildcats, the first thing you notice is the team’s offense, which is No. 4 in the adjusted offensive efficiency ratings. The Wildcats are No. 14 in 3-point shooting percentage and No. 9 in 2-point shooting.
The Wildcats are frequent participants in the NCAA Tournament, having made it 19 times since 2000, even if a few of those appearances were later vacated by the NCAA. Arizona had four Final Four appearances, although the last one was in 2001.
How They Got Here
Arizona had a berth to the tournament locked in well before the conference tournament, but Arizona earned a No. 2 seed after defeating UCLA to win the Pac 12 Conference tournament title.
The Wildcats stumbled a little down the stretch of the regular season, dropping three of their last six games. But Arizona turned it on for the conference tournament, winning all three games and going 2-0-1 ATS in that span to finish 16-16-2 ATS for the season.
How Far Will They Go
Arizona will be disappointed with anything less than a Final Four appearance and it isn’t out of the question. The Wildcats have talent and a decent draw. Arizona is the second choice in betting to win the South Region at odds of +450.
Handicapping the Game
Princeton vs Arizona should give the Wildcats a chance to shine, as they’re one of the more athletic teams in men’s college basketball. Arizona’s offense can cause problems for any team and the Tigers don’t have the bodies to keep up.
The Wildcats can play defense, as well. The Arizona defense ranked No. 41 in adjusted defensive efficiency during the year. Arizona can defend the 2- and 3-pointer well and do a decent job limiting offensive rebounds.
The Tigers can shoot from the inside, but things might not be nearly as easy inside the paint against the Wildcats as they are against fellow Ivy League schools. Still, the Tigers were competitive in their losses, losing just one game all season by more than 10 points.
The point spread is a little high, but Arizona has the athletes to get the cover in this spot. The Wildcats weren’t afraid to put a beating on teams if the opportunity presented itself and we could see more of the same in this one.
The Princeton vs Arizona total is tough to gauge, as it’s difficult to predict how much success the Tigers will have against the Wildcat defense. (Odds change frequently, be sure to check for the most up to date changes.)Follow us on Twitter
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