March Madness NCAA Betting -- Arizona's talent might measure up to anybody, but what does it mean?

  • In Charles Jay
  • Sat, Mar 23rd, 2024 5:26:21 am
  • By Charles Jay - Exclusive to OSGA

The Arizona Wildcats attempt to advance to the Sweet 16 as they tackle the Dayton Flyers at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City.

It seems that every season, expectations are high for the Arizona Wildcats. And more often than not, those expectations bring disappointment. Last year, Arizona got beat in the first round of the NCAA tournament by Princeton, the champions of the Ivy League.

BetOnline patrons may have noticed that this team added some fuel this season, bringing in valuable transfers, and now, perhaps the talent level is high enough to enable them to get into the higher reaches of the tournament.

We’ll see about that, but first they have to take care of business against the Dayton Flyers, who got past Nevada in the first round of play. This game is scheduled for 12:45 PM Eastern time on Saturday at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City. CBS will televise the event.

This season, Arizona finished with a 26–8 record (21–13 ATS). They played a lot of the big boys, beating Duke, Wisconsin, Alabama, and Colorado, and losing to Purdue, not to mention Washington State twice. When it came to the Pac, 12 championship tournament, they lost 67–59 to Oregon.

In their first round NCAA game, they took care of business rather routinely, beating Long Beach Stat and outgoing coach Dan Monson, 85–65. In that game, Kylan Boswell had 20 points, while Caleb Love, who came over from North Carolina in the transfer portal, had 18 points, 11 rebounds, and five assists. There were four different players who had two steals apiece.

Dayton takes a record of 25–7 into this game. They beat a number of NCAA tournament teams, but those were of the lower level kind, including Grambling, Oakland, Longwood and Duquesne twice. But now those wins look better since Oakland and Duquesne scored upset victories in their first round matchups,. against Kentucky and BYU respectively.

In Thursday’s action, Dayton registered at 63–60 victory over Nevada. Kobe Brea, a New Yorker who hardly throws up any two point shots, made five triples.

In the March Madness betting odds that have been posted on this game by the people at BetOnline, Arizona is the favorite:

Arizona Wildcats -9 (-106)
Dayton Flyers +9 (-114)

Over 149.5 points -110
Under 149.5 points -110

What you notice right away about Arizona is the fact that they are in the top 10 in both offensive and defensive efficiency. There are not many teams like that. They also get the ball up the court very fast, and they hit the boards with abandon. The Wildcats are 9th in the country in defensive rebounding and 18th in offensive rebounding. They are also 37% accurate from beyond the three-point arc, although this is not necessarily something that they implement a whole lot.

This is a team that will take a size advantage into games against most foes, and they have four seven-footers on their roster. The most effective is Oumar Ballo, one of the nation's top rebounders at both ends of the floor. He had eleven points and 13 rebounds the other day against Long Beach State.

Caleb Love was a top scorer for North Carolina, and in fact had 28 points in a game against Duke in the 2022 Final Four. Also transferring over this season was Keshad Johnson, who played in the national championship game last season when he was a member of the San Diego State Aztecs. Johnson, Boswell, and Pelle Larsson can all hit three-pointers when they need to. So make no mistake about it – Arizona has the inside-outside game going.

By contrast, Dayton is not a team with a whole lot of size or a whole lot of depth. But there are some things to like about them. For one thing, they have one of the nation's best players in DaRon Holmes, who is third in KenPom's rankings for national player of the year. Holmes hits 38% from beyond the arc and has taken 39 shots from the foul line over the last three games. In other words, Arizona has to pay attention to this guy.

Statistically, Dayton is the third best team in the country at making three-pointers, hitting 40.2% from downtown. And they take 44.5% of their total attempts from beyond the arc. This is an area of defense in which Arizona has to excel. But this does make the Flyers one- dimensional, because they are not necessarily a team that’s going to get anywhere on the inside. We’ll see about that, and see about Holmes' ability to operate against someone like Ballo.

But we would say that, although the talent edge is definitely on the Arizona side, Dayton has enough three-point shooters where they can keep themselves in the ball game. So our instinct here is to take the points.

Join BetOnline by using your credit card or any of sixteen different cryptocurrency options..... And get in on all the extras they have for you..... Explore the angles with Prop Builder; wager with live betting once the game tips off. And get the best payouts on pre-selected parlays with Odds Boosters!

Sign-up for the OSGA Newsletter!

Every week get news and updates, exclusive offers and betting tips delivered right to you email inbox.