No. 11 Belmont vs. No. 6 Arizona: Game Time, Predictions, TV and Spread Info
The No. 11 seeded Belmont Bruins and the No. 6 seeded Arizona Wildcats will square off in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
They will meet at EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City to determine who moves on to round three.
Belmont is 26-6 and is fresh off its thrilling Ohio Valley Conference finals overtime win against Murray State. This marks its sixth tournament berth in the past eight seasons. It lost in the first round in each of its other chances.
Arizona is 25-7 and is coming off a devastating loss in the Pac-12 men's tournament semifinal, where it lost to UCLA. The Wildcats struggled down the stretch, going just 5-5 over their last 10 contests. After missing the NCAA tournament in 2012, they will look to get back to their winning ways of 2011, when they made it to the Elite Eight.
Where: Salt Lake City, Utah at EnergySolutions Arena
When: Thursday, March 21 7:20 p.m. ET
Betting Line: Arizona, -4.5, according to www.sportsbook.ag
Who will win this game?
*All injury information via USA Today.
Neither team has any reported injuries.
What's at Stake?
Belmont can claim the school's first-ever victory in the NCAA tournament. Its first five trips have resulted in first-round losses.
Arizona has a chance to turn things around after its heartbreaking loss to UCLA in the Pac-12 Championship. It can live up to the potential it showed early on in the season and make a run.
What They're Saying
Jeff Borzello of CBS Sports has some thoughts on the Arizona's late season tumble, and their tough draw against Belmont.
It was only a couple months ago that the Wildcats were squarely in the mix for a No. 1 seed, given their very strong computer numbers and wins over Miami and Florida. However, finishing second in the conference and getting bounced in the semifinals of the Pac-12 tournament relegated them to a No. 6 seed in a dangerous game against Belmont. The Bruins are well-coached, experienced and can really stroke the ball from deep. Belmont is a perennial upset pick, and it could break through against Arizona -- but will the Wildcats play with a chip on their shoulder after getting a No. 6? It could come down to the play of Mark Lyons, who has ability to take Arizona to the next level -- or get them knocked out in the Round of 64.
Most Important Player to Watch: Arizona forward Solomon Hill
The senior forward has emerged as a very versatile player with the Wildcats. In 2012, he played more power forward and averaged 7.7 rebounds, shooting 50.2 percent from the field.
Now that the team has more big men, like freshman center Kaleb Tarczewski, he has been able to play more on the perimeter as a small forward and has averaged 13.4 points per game doing so.
He is a dynamic player who Belmont must account for, or he can change the game in Arizona's favor.
Key Matchup: Arizona Defense Against Belmont Backcourt
Belmont has courted a prolific offense this season, netting 77.2 points per game, which ranks 15th in the country.
The success of its offense is largely attributable to the play of shooting guard Ian Clark and point guard Kerron Johnson. Clark has been especially spectacular, averaging 18.1 points per game, by virtue of his draining 54.1 percent of his shots from the field and 46.3 percent of his three-pointers.
Arizona has proven vulnerable to lapses in defending deep shots. In its 89-78 loss at USC, Arizona allowed the Trojans to drain six of their 10 three-point chances, which ultimately sunk its ship. It will have to improve that if it is to stop Belmont.
Prediction: Belmont 75, Arizona 72
Belmont's offense is clicking right now. In its six-game winning streak, it has scored over its average 77 points per game four times.
Though Arizona will keep it close until the end, it will not be able to limit Belmont's explosive offense enough to avoid the upset.
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