March 28th 2013 - Posted 5:30 PM Eastern Time


Take Arizona Wildcats at +3.5 spread against Ohio State Buckeyes risking 3 Units. (7:45 PM)

It may be easy to dismiss Arizona in this game against Ohio State and I am sure a majority of people already are. The Wildcats lost to California, Colorado, USC and UCLA (twice) in the second half of the season while Ohio State has won its last 10 games including victories over Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan State (twice)!

However, looking deeper into this individual game, I think Arizona has a real shot of winning it! I wouldn't write them off just yet; let's not forget that Arizona was ranked in the Top 10 earlier this season and did manage to beat some quality opponents along the way. This game is also being played in Los Angeles which will surely be packed with Arizona fans tonight.

The Wildcats may have ranked 84th in the nation when it comes to field goal percentage during the regular season but they ranked 25th in offensive efficiency. Their offensive efficiency over their last three games in the tournament would have ranked them 8th in the nation over the course of the season! Another reason the Wildcats rank well in offensive efficiency is because they can knock down the 3 point shots; they rank 40th in the nation in three-point percentage. Iowa State was able to go 12 of 25 from behind the arc against the Buckeyes; that was not a coincidence. The Buckeyes rank 83rd in the nation when it comes to opponents 3-point percentage this season. They simply do not guard the 3 point line well.

The Wildcats also have a dynamic scoring weapon in senior guard Mark Lyons who averaged just over 15 points during the regular season and has racked up a combined 50 points against Belmont and Iona in the NCAA tournament. Then there is who I believe is an X- factor in Solomon Hall. Hall will have the task of guarding DeShaun Thomas. If Hall can slow down or shut down Thomas in this game, the Buckeyes have very little chance to win. Arizona will also have an edge when it comes to rebounding. The Wildcats rank 14th in the nation in rebounding percentage this season. The Buckeyes rank 69th. Iowa State (ranked 46th in rebounding percentage) cleaned up on the glass against the Buckeyes in their game 35-20. That included grabbing 12 offensive rebounds. Arizona should be able to bully Ohio State down low and gain the rebounding advantage.

Ohio State is thought to have the advantage on defense with Aaron Craft managing the game but personally I am not so sure about that. After all, Iowa State (a highly offensive team) didn't shoot as well in their game with Ohio State, nor did they win the turnover battle (16 turnovers), yet Ohio State needed a last-second three-pointer by Craft to advance. Also, coming into that game, the Cyclones ranked 168th in free-throw attempts per game this season but they were able to shoot 23 free throws against Ohio State! If Arizona can get to the line like Iowa State did, they stand an even better chance to upset the Buckeyes.

I believe that this Ohio State team is just a bit over-rated while I feel Arizona's success this season has been minimized. The Wildcats actually pose somewhat of a matchup nightmare for Ohio State and I believe this game will be closer than people are expecting with Arizona having a shot to win it at the end. Look for this game to possibly come down to the final possession. Take the points.

One more key trend to consider:

Arizona is 15-6 ATS when slated as an underdog over the last 3 seasons



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