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Odds taken from DraftKings Sportsbook
The Houston Cougars will face the Arizona Wildcats in an interesting Sweet 16 battle. These teams have not played each other since 2009, when Arizona won 96-90.
The Houston Cougars are one of the best teams to come out of the Group of Five conferences. They went 16-2 in non-conference play, with their only losses coming against ranked Alabama and ranked Wisconsin. The Cougars’ success continued into conference play. They went 15-3 against conference opponents and had a couple of long winning streaks.
Houston entered March Madness as a 5-seed in their region. They faced the UAB Blazers in the First Round and won 82-68. Kyler Edwards led all players in scoring with 25 points on 9-15 shooting. He was stroking it from deep and went 6-8 from behind the three-point line. Houston shot well as a team and went 10-21 from deep.
Houston had a significantly more difficult matchup in the Illinois Fighting Illini in the Second Round. They won 68-53 behind Taze Moore’s team-leading 21 points. Moore could not be stopped and went 9-16 from the field. Houston played smothering defense in this game and held Illinois to 53 points on 34% shooting.
Houston has a strong offense but an even stronger defense. They only give up 59 points per game. The fourth-lowest in the nation.
The Arizona Wildcats are one of the best teams in the country and finished the regular season ranked #2. Arizona dominated in non-conference play and only lost one game. Their impressive play continued against conference opponents. They went 18-2 in conference play, with their only losses coming against UCLA and Colorado.
Arizona entered March Madness as a #1 seed. They faced the Wright State Raiders in the First Round and won handily 87-70. Four starters scored 13 points or more, and center Christian Koloko took over this game. He scored 17 points on 7-10 shooting, grabbed 13 rebounds, passed for six assists, and came up with five blocks.
Arizona took on the TCU Horned Frogs in the Second Round in what turned out to be a very close game. They won 85-80 in overtime behind Christian Koloko’s and Bennedict Mathurin’s combined 58 points. Koloko also had three big blocks.
Arizona has one of the top offenses in the country and scores 84.6 points per game. I expect them to win this game behind the heroics of Christian Koloko and Bennedict Mathurin.
Arizona beats Houston 78-69. Arizona covers, Over 145.5 points.
|Houston Cougars||Head-to-Head||Arizona Wildcats|
|Kelvin Sampson||Head Coach||Tommy Lloyd|
|31-5 (15-3, 1st in AAC)||Standing||33-3 (18-2, 1st in Pac-12)|
|Leader (Per Game)|
|Kyler Edwards (13.9)||PPG||Bennedict Mathurin (17.8)|
|Josh Carlton (6.2)||RPG||Christian Koloko (7.4)|
|Jamal Shead (5.9)||APG||Kerr Kriisa (4.8)|
|Jamal Shead (1.7)||SPG||Dalen Terry (1.3)|
|Fabian White Jr. (1.4)||BPG||Christian Koloko (2.8)|
|Josh Carlton (.621)||FG%||Christian Koloko (.642)|
|Fabian White Jr. (.386)||3P%||Benedict Mathurin (.372)|
The Houston Cougars will have their toughest matchup of the season in the Arizona Wildcats. However, they can win if they protect the rim and hit free-throws.
Houston is not a small team, but they are smaller than Arizona. They need to protect the rim against the Arizona big men and make it hard for them to score in the paint. This will be difficult, as Arizona has a 6’11” forward in Azoulas Tubelis and a 7’1” center in Christian Koloko.
Houston shoots well from the field but not very well from the free-throw line; they only hit 66.9% of their free-throw attempts. They need to convert their free-throws in this game. It will be hard to keep up with Arizona’s high-powered offense, so they have to get points any way they can.
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The Arizona Wildcats are the favorites, but they are facing a Houston squad with a lot of momentum. They need to hit outside shots and create turnovers.
Arizona shoots pretty well from behind the three-point line; they hit 35.6% of their three-pointers. They are playing a Houston team that has a suffocating defense. Houston may be able to stifle Arizona’s scoring at the rim, so the Wildcats need to be able to hit threes.
Arizona has a mediocre defense and is playing a Houston team that can score. They need to steal the ball away from them and limit their scoring opportunities. Arizona’s guards need to cut off passing lanes and be defensive pests.
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Taze Moore has not been the primary scorer for Houston this season. However, he could not be stopped in their last game. He finished with 21 points and seven rebounds.
Moore needs to continue taking good shots and grabbing rebounds. He will be going up against larger Arizona players, so he must box them out on the boards.
Christian Koloko is one of the most dominant centers in the country. His dominance has only increased in March Madness. He is averaging 22.5 points, 12.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 4.0 blocks in the last two games.
Koloko has to continue playing great basketball on both sides of the floor. If he plays this game the way he played the last two games, Arizona should be in great shape.
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|Houston Cougars vs Arizona Wildcats Information|
|What||Houston Cougars vs Arizona Wildcats|
|Where||AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas|
|When||Thursday, March 24, 9:59 PM EST|
|How to Watch||TBS|
Max Heering graduated from the University of Kansas Sport Management program in May 2020. Max follows and writes about the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, MLS, college football, and college basketball. In his free time, you can catch Max draining threes on the basketball court. Email: [email protected]More info on Max Heering
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