Buffalo Bulls (26-8) at Arizona Wildcats (27-7)
College Basketball: Thursday, March 15, 2018 at 9:40 pm (Taco Bell Arena)
The Line: Arizona Wildcats -8.5 -- Over/Under: Click to Get Latest Betting Odds
The Buffalo Bulls and Arizona Wildcats will square off at Taco Bell Arena this Wednesday night in in the 1st round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Buffalo Bulls (26-8; 15-3 MAC) earned the 13-seed in the South Region after winning the MAC Championship by defeating the Toledo Rockets, 76-66, this past Saturday. Buffalo, which is generally led by their offense, was outstanding on the defensive end against the high-scoring Rockets and pulled away late after a 9-0 run gave Buffalo a 72-63 lead with just 1:47 left in regulation. Buffalo shot 45.9% from the field while holding Toledo to 36.8% shooting from the field and 31.8% (7-22) from beyond the arc in the victory. Leading the way for the Bulls was Wes Clark who had 26 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and 4 steals. On the season, Buffalo is averaging 84.8 ppg on 47.4% shooting from the field. The Bulls are averaging 9.7 three-pointers per game on 37.1% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, Buffalo has been led by CJ Massinburg (16.9 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 2.5 apg, 1.1 spg), Nick Perkins (16.6 ppg, 6.2 rpg), Jeremy Harris (15.4 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 2.2 apg, 1.0 spg), and Wes Clark (14.6 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 5.3 apg, 1.3 spg). Defensively, Buffalo is allowing their opponents to average 75.9 ppg on 42.5% shooting from the field. The Bulls have a rebound margin of 2.5 and a turnover margin of 1.4.
The Arizona Wildcats (27-7; 14-4 Pac-12) had to fight through a lot of adversity towards the end of the season, however, finished their season winning five straight games including a 75-61 victory over the USC Trojans this past Saturday in the finals of the Pac-12 Men’s Championship. Arizona was outstanding on the boards against USC and pulled away in the 2nd half after taking a 67-55 lead with just 2:43 left in regulation. Arizona shot 51.7% from the field and outrebounded the Trojans by a 42-19 margin in the victory. Leading the way for the Wildcats was Deandre Ayton who had a double-double with 32 points, 18 rebounds, 2 assists, and a block. On the season, Arizona is averaging 80.9 ppg on 50.5% shooting from the field. The Wildcats are averaging 6.9 three-pointers per game on 37.7% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, Arizona has been led by Deandre Ayton (20.3 ppg, 11.5 rpg, 1.6 apg, 1.9 bpg), Allonzo Trier (18.4 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 3.3 apg), Rawle Alkins (13.4 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 2.4 apg, 1.3 spg), and Dusan Ristic (12.1 ppg, 7.0 rpg). Defensively, Arizona is allowing their opponents to average 71.2 ppg on 43.1% shooting from the field. The Wildcats have a rebound margin of 7.6 and a turnover margin of -0.6.
The Bulls are 4-0 ATS in thier last 4 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record and 18-7-1 ATS in thier last 26 neutral site games. The Wildcats are 4-0 ATS in thier last 4 neutral site games and 4-1 ATS in thier last 5 games following a ATS win.
Buffalo has won their last 6 games and has one of the more dangerous offenses in the country as the Bulls come into this game ranked 7th in scoring offense, 43rd in FG%, and 29th in three-pointers made per game. Arizona has also been led by their offense this season as they Wildcats currently rank 41st in scoring offense, 4th in FG%, and 8th in rebound margin. Arizona has probably the best player in the college basketball right now in Deandre Ayton who had been incredible as of late and will give Buffalo a ton of trouble down low, however, Buffalo is a very talented offensive team that has many weapons and as I was encouraged by some of the Buffalo performances on the defensive in the MAC tournament, I think Buffalo will be able to keep this one close enough to cover with the points.