College Basketball: Men’s Championship West Region
2nd Round SMC vs. ARIZ
#7 Saint Mary’s Gaels (29-4) at #2 Arizona Wildcats (31-4)
March 18, 2017- 7:45 PM ET (TV CBS) Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City, UT
Second Round action will continue on Saturday when we go out to Salt Lake City for a West Region clash between the No. 7 Saint Mary’s Gaels and No. 2 Arizona Wildcats that is sure to provide plenty of sportsbetting action with the betting lines as follow;
Best Gaels Lines: 5Dimes Spread (+5) ML +190
Best Wildcats Lines: MyBookie Spread (-5) ML -225
Over/Under: BetOnline 132.5
Picked by many to perhaps win it all, the team from the Arizona desert seem to be hitting their offensive stride when it matters most as they seek to take another step closer to cutting down the nets.
In Thursday’s opening contest against North Dakota, the Wildcats hit the century mark for just the third time in their NCAA Tournament Division I history when they opened up with a 100-82 victory.
Utilizing their talent, speed and quickness was the key in getting up and down the court nearly running the Fighting Hawks out of the building, however, lapses in the defense helped keep North Dakota around.
Pounding North Dakota with an inside-out game, the Wildcats will aim for the same blueprint when they take on the upset-minded Gaels, who earned their way to the second round with an 85-77 victory over VCU.
Arizona freshman center Lauri Markkanen will once again be the big key on offense after pouring in 20 points on Thursday.
The key to the Gaels finding success is their ability to force their tempo upon oppenents; being one of the best teams in the nation in rebounding margin and scoring defense as well as making baskets with a high efficiency.
Saint Mary’s put the clamps on the VCU outside shooting holding the Rams to a paltry 15.4 percent from the perimeter. In turn, the Gaels shot 55.6 percent from the field while accounting for 13 assists on 25 baskets.
Countering Markkanen will be junior center Jock Landale, who proved to be a force on both ends of the floor. Accounting for 18 points with 13 rebounds, Landale recorded his 13th double-double of the season.
Dictating the flow of the game will be vital for the Gaels as they have proven to be a well-balanced team. However, as we take a look at our best sportsbooks, MyBookie is favoring ARIZ (-5) points over SMC with BetOnline delivering the over/under at 132.5 total game points scored.
Keeping my confidence in the more battle-tested team from Tucson, I will favor the Wildcats MINUS the points (-5) over Saint Mary’s for the win to advance as my betting pick.