Arizona Wildcats vs. Memphis Tigers
The Arizona Wildcats are a 5-point favorite over the Memphis Tigers in this West Region matchup of the NCAA Tournament.Â The over/under total for the game is set at 139. This is one of the always mouth-watering No. 5 vs. No. 12 matchups. Since 1985, No. 12 seeds are 35-69 against No. 5 seeds.
The Arizona Wildcats are the 5th seed and they are 27-7 on the season and 18-14 against the spread.Â They had their string of 25 straight NCAA tournament appearances snapped last year. They returned this year as an at-large bid after winning the Pac-10 regular season. The main reason for the success was undoubtedly Derrick Williams. The 6-foot-8 sophomore forward led the team in scoring with 19.8 points per game. He won Pac-10 Player of the Year for his efforts. Coach Sean Miller also won conference Coach of the Year in just his second year since coming from Xavier. He has the program headed in the right direction with a top-10 recruiting class for next year. That will be needed with Williams likely headed to the NBA as a lottery pick.Â Arizona is scoring 76.5 points per game on the season, but no one besides Williams is in double-digits. Arizona is a young team with guard Kyle Fogg and forward Jamelle Horne the only regulars from the Sweet Sixteen team of two years ago.
Memphis is the 12th seed and has a record of 25-9 overall and 14-17 against the spread.Â Memphis comes into this game on a roll, blowing through the Conference USA Tournament. The championship game was a 67-66 upset over UTEP as five point underdogs. The 133 combined points scored against UTEP went er the 130-point total. The der was 12-0 in Memphis prior 12 games, scoring 62.7 points per game and allowing 62.8 points per game. Memphis has learned to win close contests; they are 13-1 in games decided by five points or less. Memphis is also very young with its three leading scorers all freshmen. Coach Josh Pastner is in his second year after taking over for John Calipari. Memphis made the NIT last season after four straight March Madness appearances. Pastner would love to get a win over Arizona, the team he played for and was an assistant under Lute Olson.
These teams last met in 2006 and 2007, with each winning and vering at home.Â Today, on a neutral court in Tulsa, Oklahoma I am taking the Memphis Tigers plus the 5-points.Â I believe that this will be an extremely close game, I am not sure Memphis will win but I certainly like them with the 5-points as a backboard.
Memphis Tigers +5 Arizona Wildcats