Focused Arizona to Ambush Buffalo with Size and Talent

arizona dunk

Doug Upstone

Tuesday, March 13, 2018 7:25 PM GMT

Tuesday, Mar. 13, 2018 7:25 PM GMT

Fourth-seeded Arizona battles with 13-seed Buffalo University in the final game Thursday night in Boise (9:40 ET; CBS), in what should be a real 94-foot fast-paced clash.

Arizona vs. BuffaloFree NCAAB Pick: Arizona -8.5Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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This is a South Region matchup of regular-season and conference tournament champions. The college basketball odds board has fourth-seeded Arizona as an 8.5-point favorite over 13th-seeded Buffalo, and the total has dipped a bit to 157. Both clubs average more than 80 points a game, which should mean a lot action and excitement.

Is Pac-12 champion Arizona a lock to advance? Or is MAC champion Buffalo ready to bury Arizona with a barrage of threes?

Misfortune Galvanized Arizona

According to the oddsmakers, Arizona (27-7, 14-19-1 ATS) is mis-seeded at No. 4. The Wildcats are the fifth choice at most sportsbooks to cut down the nets on April 2. In late February, news broke that head coach Sean Miller had been caught on FBI wiretap discussing a $100,000 payment during the recruitment of freshman DeAndre Ayton. Miller denied the accusations but was forced to sit out a game and nearly lost his job.

That moment brought this talented but fragmented team together. Ayton (19.9 PPG, 11.4 RPG) in particular went from using his immense talents for roughly half a game most of the time to becoming un-guardable and unstoppable. This newfound energy has every Wildcat playing with more passion for the coach and their teammates, and Allonzo Trier (18.9 PPG) along with Dusan Ristic (11.9) are more consistent.

Buffalo Will Not Be Intimidated

This is the fourth trip to the Big Dance in five years for Buffalo (26-8, 16-13-2 ATS), which has taken over as the MAC's premier program.

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The Bulls place a great deal of pressure on opposing defenses in averaging 84.8 PPG, and their 65 attempts per contest is top 10 in the country. Buffalo creates mismatches all over the floor by playing four guards most of the time. In spite of not having much size, they do excellent work as team rebounders.

Expect Buffalo to push the ball at every opportunity and rely on a variety of scorers such as CJ Massinburg (17.3 PPG), Jeremy Harris (15.6 PPG) and Nick Perkins (16.6 PPG). Add in guard Wes Clark (14.1 PPG) and this team creates a lot of issues. The Bulls have to run fast, limit turnovers as best as possible and try and wear down the Arizona big men to cover or win.

Arizona Has Too Much Everything For Buffalo

As much as I would love to back Buffalo, I cannot. The MAC has lost its past five NCAA Tournament games by an average of 20 points (three times the Bulls were involved). Arizona has the players to also go up and down the floor. They can limit Buffalo to one shot on offense and clean the glass and pound the boards for second-chance points when they are shooting the orange.

Buffalo might not be a bad first-half bet at +5 for your NCAAB picks, but the Wildcats will own the last 20 minutes and win going away.

Check out SBR’s college basketball odds page for updated lines. Also, head over to the March Madness Betting Headquarters for vital handicapping information, picks, and a list of the best sports books and live betting options for the tournament season.

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