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Bruins vs. Wildcats Betting & NCAA Tourney Preview | Free Pick

Bruins vs Wildcats NCAA Tourney Spread/Handicapping

The No. 11 Belmont Bruins and the No. 6 Arizona Wildcats will face off in a second-round matchup in Salt Lake City Thursday night. The winner will advance in the West Region to take on the winner of No. 3 New Mexico vs. No. 14 Harvard.

NCAA Tournament – West Bracket
No. 11 Belmont Bruins (26-6, 14-2) vs. No. 6 Arizona Wildcats (25-7, 12-6 Pac-12)
Thursday, March 21, 2013
7:20 PM ET
Salt Lake City, UT
Spread: Arizona -4 at BETDSI
O/U: N/A

Matchup | Preview

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Belmont Bruins

The Belmont Bruins may just be an 11 seed, but their offense is going to give the Arizona Wildcats a serious run for their money. Belmont averages an impressive 77.2 points per contest, which is good enough for 15th in the nation. It shoots the fourth-highest percentage in the country (49.4 percent) and it moves the ball well, collecting 15.9 assists per game.


While their offense is certainly going to be what casual fans look at first, their defense is as intense as it comes. They play with high energy on that side of the ball, and while they’ll certainly be outmatched physically, the Tournament highlights the mental side of teams that we don’t see in the regular season.

This team lacks a center inside, but that won’t stop them from shooting a high percentage against an athletic Arizona squad. Belmont plays with patience and gets good looks, which is a big reason senior guard Ian Clark shot 46.9 percent from deep range on the year.

That being said, height will be a major problem. This team is tough, but not tall. They’re just 276th in the country in rebounding, and will be outmatched on the block in the tournament.

Arizona Wildcats

If the Arizona Wildcats want to win this game, they have to take advantage of their size and athleticism. This is a talented group—one of the more talented groups we’ve seen from them—and big men Kaleb Tarczewski and Brandon Ashley will be an important part of the game plan. [ad-6571516]

Whether pulling down rebounds or setting up on offense, expect the two bigs to have big games. They may not impact the defense much, as Belmont will surely shy away from the paint, but they’ll look to take over on the other side of the floor.

The impressive part about this group is that it can hit you from any angle. Talented guards and wings flood this roster, and their depth is going to cause trouble for the Bruins.

The problem with Arizona, and what makes them a popular pick to lose in this matchup, is their inconsistency. They’ve been both great and unimpressive this season, and depending on which team comes out on Thursday, they will be looking at a first-round elimination or a deep run.

One area where Arizona has to find consistent play is at the point guard position. Mark Lyons has been as inconsistent as anyone on this team, and while he hasn’t been the only problem, it will start with him once the tournament begins.

The bad news for Arizona is that Lyons has nothing to do with their size advantage. If Belmont is smart and keeps the ball out of the paint, it all comes down to how Lyons plays, and that’s something that could benefit the Bruins when it’s all said and done.

Prediction: Belmont 78 – Arizona 73


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