Princeton faces off against Arizona in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Princeton is coming off an Ivy League Championship win against Yale, while Arizona is coming off a close win against UCLA in the Pac-12 Championship. My prediction is that Arizona covers the 14.5-point spread. Arizona is too talented, especially on offense for Princeton to keep pace with. Let’s take a look at the odds and make some picks and predictions for this game!
Princeton vs. Arizona Prediction
Arizona is playing like one of the best teams in the entire country right now, after winning the Pac-12 Championship in a thriller against UCLA.
The key for Arizona starts and ends with Azuolas Tubelis in the front court. He’s the best running big man in the country on offense. He leads the Wildcats in scoring at 20 points per game, rebounds at 9 per game, and is tied for the lead in steals at 1.1 per game. Oumar Ballo is the complement to Tubelis up front. He’s second in scoring at 14 PPG and in rebounds at 8.5 per game. He leads the team in in blocks per game for the season too at 1.3 per game. Courtney Ramey and Kerr Kriisa are two other keys in the backcourt. They both were very quiet against UCLA. Ramey averages 11 PPG and hit the game winning shot against UCLA. Kriisa is dealing with a shoulder injury, so it’ll be interesting to see how effective he is. He averages 10 PPG and leads the team in assists per game at 5.2.
Arizona is one of the best offensive teams in all of college basketball this season. They’re top-5 in scoring at 82.7 PPG, top-3 in field goal percentage at 49.6%, and they’re top-10 in rebounding at 39.4 per game.
On the other side, Princeton is very efficient and is very well-coached too.
The biggest key for the Tigers is their point-forward Tosan Evbuomwan. He leads the team in scoring at 15 PPG, in assists at 5 per game, and in steals per game at 1 per game. Ryan Langborg and Matt Allocco make up a decent backcourt for the Tigers too and are the only other players that average double digits. Langborg averages 12 PPG and Allocco averages 11 PPG. Caden Pierce is up next on the wing and he averages 8 PPG.
The key for the Tigers is efficiency and making the smart basketball play. They’re 21st in rebounding at 39 per game. They average 76 PPG on offense and then allow 69 PPG.
Arizona is the play here because of their talent and their incredible offense. Princeton could hang around for a bit in this game because of how well-coached they are, but the talent and coaching by Arizona should win out. The Arizona front court is the difference and is going to be the key throughout this Tournament for the Wildcats.
Princeton vs. Arizona Prediction: Arizona -14.5
Princeton vs. Arizona Odds
Arizona is a 14.5-point favorite against Princeton and is at -1250 on the money line. The over/under is also at 154.5. Arizona being favored by this much makes sense because of how good they’ve looked recently and because of how much talent they have overall compared to Princeton. The over/under makes sense too because of how good Arizona is on offense and Princeton can score very well too. This spread should stay where it’s at before tip-off too.
Princeton vs. Arizona Key Matchups
Can Keeshawn Kellman matchup with Azuolas Tubelis? Can Cedric Henderson Jr. matchup with Tosan Evbuomwan?
Azuolas Tubelis vs Keeshawn Kellman
Azuolas Tubelis has been almost unstoppable this year. He averages 20 points, 2 assists, and 9 rebounds per game for the season. He’ll be matched up against Keeshawn Kellman most of the game, who averages 8 points, 1 assist, and 5 rebounds per game for the season. Tubelis the biggest reason why I think the Wildcats cover the 14.5-point spread. He can run the floor unlike anyone in college basketball in an offense that’s a perfect fit for him and that’s a big matchup difference for Kellman.
Tosan Evbuomwan vs Cedric Henderson Jr.
Tosan Evbuomwan does it all for the Tigers this year as a forward. He averages 15 points, 5 assists, and 6 rebounds per game for the season. He’ll be matched up against Cedric Henderson Jr. most of the game, who averages 8 points, 1 assist, and 3.5 rebounds per game for the season. Evbuomwan is a unique matchup for anyone, but Henderson Jr. is a very good defender, and is abig reason why I think Arizona covers on defense.