No. 16 seed Wright State had little trouble in the First Four in dispatching fellow No. 16 seed Bryant, but things get just a bit tougher Friday night in the first round of the NCAA Tournament as the Raiders face South top seed Arizona, which is a double-digit favorite on the NCAAB odds.
How to Bet Wright State vs. Arizona NCAA Basketball Odds & TV Info
Why Bet on Wright State?
Wright State (22-13) played in Dayton – where the school is located but not its own gym – in the First Four on Wednesday and beat Bryant 93-82. Wright State led by two at the half, pushed the advantage to eight on Trey Calvin’s floater with 16:27 left, and it was never closer than five the rest of the way. They led by as many as 16 as a partisan crowd chanted, “Let’s Go Raiders” multiple times in the second half.
Tanner Holden had 37 points and 11 rebounds and Wright State got its first-ever NCAA Tournament victory. Calvin added 21 points, and Grant Basile had 14. Holden, a 6-foot-6 junior, hit 11 of 15 field goal attempts and went 14-of-16 at the free throw line while also grabbing 11 rebounds in 39 minutes. He came in as Wright State’s leading scorer (19.8 points per game) but hadn’t reached 30 points since a 38-point effort on Jan. 22 against Illinois-Chicago.
WSU’s 93 points was the second most it’s scored all season. The Raiders played up to Bryant’s tempo for most of the game. The two teams turned the ball over a combined 26 times.
The Raiders were making their second appearance in the past four NCAA tournaments and fourth overall, but the previous three ended with first-round defeats.
“It’s the first thing I said to the players: It’s not happened in the Division I era,” Wright State coach Scott Nagy said. “This is the first one and will always be the first one. Where we did it, how we did it, all those things, it’s a lifetime moment for these guys.”
Nagy is in his fifth trip to the NCAA Division I Tournament in 10 years, leading Wright State to the Dance for the second time to go along with tournament appearances in 2012, 2013 and 2016 at South Dakota State. Nagy previously also led South Dakota State to eight NCAA Tournaments in nine years when they were a Division II program.
Arizona is 1-0 all-time against WSU. The only prior meeting was in November 2004, when the Wildcats won 83-66 behind 24 points from Salim Stoudamire.
Why Bet on Arizona?
Arizona (31-3) was the Pac-12 regular season and tournament champion. The Cats beat UCLA 84-76 in the tournament final last Saturday for their sixth straight win. Bennedict Mathurin scored 27 points and Arizona used a massive second-half run to pull away and win the Pac-12 Tournament in coach Tommy Lloyd’s first season. Mathurin was named a Second Team All-American by the Associated Press this week.
The top-seeded Wildcats played their second straight game without point guard Kerr Kriisa due to a sprained right ankle suffered in the quarterfinals against Stanford. His replacement, Justin Kier, was limited to 13 minutes due to foul trouble, depleting Arizona’s depth even more. The Cats trailed by as many as 12 in the second half and registered their sixth win this season when trailing by double digits, second most in the nation. Arizona is now 26-0 this season when scoring at least 80 points. Lloyd’s 31 wins are the most in a single season by a first-time head coach at a Pac-12 school.
The Cats have earned No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament for a seventh time in program history. They return to San Diego for postseason play for just the second time after winning its first two games there during the 2014 NCAA Tournament.
The Wildcats have enjoyed a top-15 status in adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency on KenPom throughout the season, a sign of their balance and consistency. Why does that matter? Every team that has won the national title since 2002, except for the miraculous 2013-14 UConn squad, finished the year in the top 25 in both adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency. Arizona, which made more than 49% of its shots inside the arc this season, fits that profile.
It appears that Kriisa might play Friday despite that badly sprained ankle. Kriisa, who is averaging 10.1 points, 2.5 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game, said he’s been doing “some crazy stuff” with UA trainer Justin Kokoskie in order to get his ankle healed up enough to play.
“Actually, when it happened, I thought it was over,” Kriisa said. “Like when the moment hit, I felt like my leg was … I was scared to look down because I thought that it really snapped and it was like (a) completely different direction, but luckily nothing broke, and I still have a chance to play.”
Being a No. 1 seed doesn’t mean an automatic ticket to the second weekend of the NCAA tournament. In the 2021 NCAA tournament, Illinois became the 20th No. 1 seed to exit the tournament in the Round of 32, as it fell to No. 8 seed Loyola Chicago.
- Game Trends
- Raiders are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Raiders are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
- Raiders are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 Friday games.
- Raiders are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 neutral site games.
- Wildcats are 3-8 ATS in their last 11 neutral site games as a favorite.
- Wildcats are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games following a ATS win.
- Wildcats are 1-4-1 ATS in their last 6 NCAA Tournament games as a favorite.
- Arizona 89, Wright State 69
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