NCAA March Madness: Arizona vs. Princeton betting preview, odds and predictions

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NCAA March Madness: Arizona Wildcats vs. Princeton Tigers betting preview, odds and predictions

In the 2 vs. 15 matchup in the South region of the 2023 NCAA tournament, the Arizona Wildcats face the Princeton Tigers with a spot in the Round of 32 on the line. All tournament long, VSiN will be providing you with March Madness betting odds, in-depth team analysis and expert college basketball picks. Make us your one-stop shop for all of your betting needs. 

 

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How to watch Arizona vs. Princeton

When: Thursday, 4:10 p.m. ET

Where: Sacramento, California

Watch: TNT

Odds for Arizona vs. Princeton

Spread: Arizona -14

Total: 154.5

(Odds accurate as of Sunday, March 12th at 11:00 p.m. ET)

Real-time betting splits at DraftKings Sportsbook

South Region No. 2 Seed Arizona Wildcats

Arizona has had some puzzling losses this season, but the Wildcats also have tremendous wins. Tommy Lloyd’s team already has victories over the UCLA Bruins, Tennessee Volunteers, Indiana Hoosiers, Creighton Bluejays and San Diego State Aztecs this season. And the group is battle-tested after having won the Maui Invitational at the start of the year and the Pac-12 Tournament at the end of it. That’s just something that you can’t take for granted now that we’re in March. Losing Bennedict Mathurin obviously hurts any team, but the Wildcats still have a great point guard in Kerr Kriisa, who can shoot the three, find his teammates and also get under his opponent’s skin. Arizona also has two tremendous big men in Azuolas Tubelis and Oumar Ballo. And it’s not like Mathurin walked and wasn’t replaced. The Wildcats brought in Texas transfer Courtney Ramey, who constantly hits big shots when called upon.

South Region No. 15 Seed Princeton Tigers

Princeton is one of the best rebounding teams in the nation, and the Tigers are going to battle as hard as possible against whoever they face. That’s what made this team such a hard team to beat throughout the course of the Ivy League season, but that might not be enough for Princeton to do much of anything in this tournament. The Tigers aren’t spectacular on either end of the floor, and this team lacks a go-to scoring option. The closest thing it has to that is Tosan Evbuomwan, who had six games with 20 or more points this season. But can he do it against high-level teams? He’ll need to find a way or the whole team will struggle to score.

Arizona vs. Princeton matchup analysis

Princeton played one Quadrant I opponent during the regular season and lost that game at Yale by 22 points. The Tigers did get revenge for two losses to the Bulldogs by winning the Ivy League Tournament, but their prize is to draw their second Quadrant I opponent of the season and a much stronger one in Arizona.

The Wildcats run at one of the nation’s fastest tempos, which is going to put even more pressure on Princeton. The Tigers deserve a lot of credit for being a top-80 team in eFG% offense and defense, but that stat is not adjusted for the level of competition. They played the 306th-ranked nonconference schedule per Ken Pomeroy and the 222nd-ranked schedule overall. Arizona is 16-6 against Quadrant I and II opponents. Princeton is 2-3.

In games like this, what hurts a team like Princeton is a lack of depth. Tosan Evbuomwan is a great player, but there aren’t a lot of other guys with the size of skills to match up with the Wildcats. This Arizona team ranks in the top 15 in both 2P% and 3P%. In a game likely to be played to around 70 possessions, it seems highly unlikely that Princeton can keep Arizona under 80 points. So, how do the Tigers keep up with that?

Generating turnovers would help, right? Unfortunately, Princeton’s 14.5% TO% ranks 349th in the nation. Arizona’s 7-footer Oumar Ballo has 57 dunks this season. Princeton has 49 dunks as a team. When looking for upset potential in the NCAA Tournament, there has to be a defining attribute for the underdog. A quirky defense. A sharpshooter from 3. A dominant big. Something. Anything. Princeton doesn’t seem to have that.

The only thing you worry about in these high-seed vs. low-seed games is whether or not the high-seed empties the bench and starts looking ahead to the next game. Given the bracket in Arizona’s region, that seems like a possibility.

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