A sequel to the movie Blue Chips will be pitched to Netflix executives if Arizona makes a deep run in this year’s tournament. The Pac-12 champions’ season includes an FBI investigation, a wiretap and a top overall pick in the upcoming NBA draft allegedly receiving a $100K payment. The Wildcats’ first March Madness matchup comes against MAC champion Buffalo.
NCAA Tournament Odds and Betting Analysis
Arizona didn’t impress many in the early stages of the season when it fell to NC State and SMU, and then got blown out by Purdue. The Wildcats responded after beat down the Boilermakers gave them by winning 16 of their next 17 games. They hit another snag at the end of February but that was when there were distractions off the court (more on that later) consuming the team and its head coach. ‘Zona enters with a 27-7 record straight up and a 14-18-2 mark against the spread. The squad was the class of its conference and proved so by winning the Pac-12 regular season and league tourney.
Buffalo accomplished the same feat only in a much weaker conference. The Mid-American Conference is known more for its weekday college football games than any of its schools making a prolonged run in the Big Dance. The Bulls went 0-4 straight up (2-2 ATS) against the four tournament teams they faced during the regular season. The Bulls are currently set as 9-point underdogs for this one on the March Madness betting board.
Of the 351 teams in Division I college basketball, only four teams averaged more points per game than Buffalo. The Bulls attack the glass on the offensive end and they shoot a lot of 3s. Buffalo likes to play small ball and its leading rebounder is its 6-foot-3 guard and leading scorer CJ Massinburg. The Bulls might have a hard time keeping Arizona’s Ayton from crashing the boards.
Sean Miller is used to being under the spotlight this time of the year because of his lack of success in March as Arizona’s head coach. But all eyes will be on him because of an ongoing FBI investigation into college basketball. ESPN reported a few weeks ago that Miller was heard on a wiretap talking about a payment to freshman center and expected No. 1 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft Deandre Ayton. Miller denied the report and continues to coach the team and Ayton continues to play and shine on the court.
Ayton isn’t the only Arizona player capable of taking over a game. Junior guard Allonzo Trier finished fifth in the Pac-12 in scoring and second in free throw percentage.