For those making NCAA Basketball picks, the elite field in Maui Invitational is a must-see to learn about current and future betting. Check out our analysis for Missouri vs. Arizona.
This will be the second game of the day local time and Arizona is the No. 2 ranked team in the country, while Missouri was picked middle of the pack in the SEC. The Wildcats won this event in 2000 and the NCAA Basketball odds have them as significant favorites to do so again.
Will Arizona Be On a Mission to Prove Ranking?
The Wildcats have begun the season with three victories but just one cover of the spread. Arizona beat St. Mary’s 78-55 as 28.5-point favorites and CS-Northridge 86-68 as 26.5-point chalk. The Cats only cover was the last time out against UC-Irvine, winning 71-54 handing out 15.5-points, but was trailing with 10 minutes left in the contest.
The talent level coach Sean Miller’s team has is unquestioned despite the losses of Aaron Gordon and Nick Johnson to the NBA. A larger perspective of Arizona finds a deeper team with better outside shooting and overall fewer weaknesses. T.J. McConnell and Gabe York are under control as guards and matchup well against almost anyone they will face. The return of Brandon Ashley as a – glue guy – is very important to this team’s overall strength and he a Rondae Hollis-Jefferson can play multiple positions. Center Kaleb Tarczewski is a powerful defender and an improving offensive player, but what could make the Wildcats a more valuable commodity to those making College Basketball picks is more aggressive rebounding numbers. Stanley Johnson is a top freshman and as soon as he learns the ropes about Miller’s wishes on the defensive end, watch out with his talent.
Young Tigers Curious Where they Stand with New Coach Missouri will be making their first trip to this event in 14 years and has a new head coach in Kim Anderson. The 59-year old is no stranger to Tigers supporters, having been an assistant to former Missouri head coach Norm Stewart for 11 years and spent the last dozen seasons at D-II Central Missouri before getting his “dream job”.
The dream job started as nightmare losing to Missouri-KC 69-61 as 14-point favorites, but the Tigers rebounded to defeat and knock down the betting odds against Valparaiso (56-41) and Oral Roberts (78-64).
After losing their top three leading scorers from last season, Missouri is playing with three underclassmen in the starting lineup and three more freshmen are seeing significant minutes under coach Anderson. To understand how young and inexperienced this team is, starting forward Ryan Rosburg is the only player on the team with as much as two years with the program.
Sophomore guard Wes Clark has three-straight double-digit scoring games to start the season for Mizzou (14.3 ppg), while freshman guard Montaque Gill-Caesar leads the Tigers in scoring (16.3 average.).
"(The Maui Invitational) is going to be a great experience. It'll be good to see where our team is and what strides we have to make towards March," Clark said. "We're a young team and we're trying to find our chemistry and a feel for each other. So, we're just looking to see where we're at exactly." Yes they will.
Sportsbooks opened Arizona as 13-point favorites and on the overnight line 13.5 was a prevalent number against the betting odds.
What to Look for in this Contest
Arizona should be a tremendous defensive team this season and seemingly the only way Missouri stays in this contest is shooting the ball well from behind the arc like they did against Oral Roberts when they drilled eight-of-nine deep shots in the second half.
This would seem problematic as the Wildcats only allow opposing teams to connect in 39.4 percent of shots and 30.3 percent on three-pointers. If Arizona falls into one their mental lapses like we have seen this season, this would be the Tigers window of opportunity.
The Winner Is……
Playing a team from a power conference should waken Arizona and with often stifling defense against a very young and inexperienced opponent, hard to go against Arizona, though not a blowout, more like the Cats pulling away late to win by 16.
Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Arizona covers -14 at 5Dimes