Dayton vs. Arizona March Madness Preview and Prediction

In a No. 7 vs. No. 2 matchup in the NCAA Tournament West Region, the Dayton Flyers face the Arizona Wildcats in second-round action.

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How to Watch Dayton vs. Arizona

When: 12:45 pm ET on Saturday, March 23rd

Where: Delta Center in Salt Lake City, Utah

Watch: CBS

Odds for Dayton vs. Arizona

(odds current at time of publish)

Spread: Arizona -8.5

Total: 151.5

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

West Region No. 7 Dayton

It’s a shame Dayton lost Malachi Smith for the year, as this Flyers team had the potential to be borderline special. DaRon Holmes II is one of the most dominant bigs in the nation, and he allows Dayton to play inside-out. However, Holmes is also a good pick-and-pop option now, as he worked hard on his jumper in the offseason. He’s going to present problems for any team the Flyers face. Holmes also has some serious shooters around him, with Nate Santos, Koby Brea and Kobe Elvis all being lethal from deep. There’s a reason the Flyers are a top-five team when it comes to 3PT%. Dayton just needs to find a way to lock in defensively. The team has been lousy on that end of the floor all year. The Flyers need to figure it out as they prepare to face more talented opponents. 

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.

Dayton vs. Arizona Preview & Prediction

This is not a great matchup for Dayton. The Flyers have some issues on the defensive end and they’re now facing an explosive Wildcats team. Arizona has three perimeter players that can overwhelm opponents, with Kylan Boswell, Pelle Larsson and Caleb Love all being fantastic. The three of them combined to score 53 points in an opening-round win over Long Beach State, and all three have the potential to go off against Dayton. But it’s Love that will be the most intriguing player to watch here. The former North Carolina star isn’t shy about hunting shots, and he tends to live for March Madness. There will undoubtedly be games in which Love struggles, but having a fearless scorer is big at this time of the year.

It’s also going to be tough for the Flyers to see Oumar Ballo out there. With DaRon Holmes II, Dayton is used to having the most dominant big man on the court. And the Flyers feed off the extra attention Holmes commands, as he then has several snipers to kick out to for open 3s. But Ballo has the size and strength to handle the assignment without help. So, Dayton might struggle to get the type of quality looks these players are used to. Perhaps Holmes will use his new-and-improved 3-point shot to draw Ballo out and create openings for his guards to go to the rim. But the reality is that the Wildcats will be happy if Holmes settles for outside shots.

The center matchup also figures to be interesting when Dayton is on defense. The Flyers don’t normally have to worry about an opposing center scoring around the rim. But Arizona isn’t going to hesitate to dump it inside and let Ballo go to work. He can either tire Holmes out or get him in foul trouble.

The interesting thing about this game is that the Wildcats can struggle against teams that let 3s fly. So, maybe the Flyers will make it a priority to launch away from deep. They’re actually 29th in the nation in 3-point rate this year, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility. Arizona is down at 286th in the country in 3-point rate, so Dayton has an opportunity to make the math tricky. If the Flyers make a lot more 3s than the Wildcats, it’ll be hard for Arizona to cover — or win outright. At the very least, I’d expect Dayton to try this. That would make a high-scoring game likely.

Estimated Score: Arizona 79.3 – Dayton 69.4

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