Clemson vs. Arizona March Madness Preview and Prediction

In a No. 6 vs. No. 2 matchup in the NCAA Tournament West Region, the Dayton Flyers face the Arizona Wildcats in Sweet 16 action.

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How to Watch Clemson vs. Arizona

When: 7:09 p.m. ET on Thursday, March 28th

Where: Arena in Los Angeles, CA

Watch: CBS

Odds for Clemson vs. Arizona

(odds current at time of publish)

Spread: Arizona -7.5

Total: 151

DraftKings Betting Splits | Live College Basketball Odds | Clemson vs. Arizona Matchup

West Region No. 6 Clemson Tigers

Clemson wasn’t anything special during the regular season, but this team will be a tough out. The Tigers are a borderline top-25 team when it comes to adjusted offensive efficiency, and they’re solid on the defensive end. That starts with center PJ Hall, who sets the tone for Clemson on both ends of the floor. He’s a good pick-and-pop center that can score around the basket, and he’s relatively creative with the ball in his hands. Hall is also a very good defensive big, and his motor is contagious for the Tigers. The team also has him paired with a tough forward in Ian Schieffelin, and the guard play isn’t bad either. In fact, Syracuse transfer Joseph Girard III is a big shot maker and is capable of getting hot from deep. That said, there’s a lot to like with Clemson and a couple of wins isn’t out of the question if the team gets rolling.

West Region No. 2 Arizona Wildcats

Arizona was a No. 2 in last year’s tournament and lost in the first round to 15th-seeded Princeton. The Wildcats had to deal with a lot of criticism because of that, and it would have been worse if Purdue didn’t lose in a 1-16 game. But Arizona is back with another excellent basketball team. The Wildcats are a top-10 team when it comes to both offensive and defensive efficiency, and they can play inside and out. Caleb Love, Kylan Boswell and Pelle Larsson are all very good perimeter players, and Oumar Ballo is a tank in the paint. Keshad Johnson is also a tremendous mix of both at power forward. The only thing to worry about with Arizona is whether the team can overcome a bad matchup.

Clemson vs. Arizona Preview & Prediction

Clemson emerged victorious over Baylor to punch a ticket for the Sweet 16 for just the second time in the Brad Brownell era. Clemson’s last S16 appearance came back in 2018 when the Tigers knocked off No. 12 New Mexico State and No. 4 Auburn. The win over No. 3 Baylor represents the highest seed that Clemson has beaten in the current NCAA Tournament era with the first-round field of 64 teams.

Surprisingly, Arizona hasn’t made the Elite Eight since 2015, so one drought will end here, though Clemson’s is much, much longer, as they haven’t made the E8 since 1980. This is Tommy Lloyd’s second Sweet 16 appearance in three seasons. The Wildcats were a No. 1 seed in 2022 and beat TCU in OT in the second round before bowing out against No. 5 Houston the next round.

The Tigers have really ramped things up on defense in this tournament. They held New Mexico to .789 points per possession and 3-of-23 from 3 in the first round and then held Baylor in check, as the Bears shot just 38.9% overall and went 6-of-24 from beyond the arc. 

Something to watch in this matchup, though, is that Clemson has allowed 28 offensive rebounds in two games and only has 13 ORebs of their own. Arizona is one of the nation’s top rebounding teams and also ranks in the top 40 in 2P% and top 20 in 3P%, so extra possessions could be a huge factor in this one.

Arizona is a top-10 team in both adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency per Bart Torvik and Ken Pomeroy, so they do fit the mold and the very exclusive criteria for teams that historically win the National Championship. Baylor’s bad defensive numbers truly make this a sizable step up in class for the Tigers.

Estimated Score: Coming soon.

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