With March Madness Selection Sunday only a few days away, we thought we’d take a look at the Division 1 basketball teams in Arizona, and how they’ve fared over the years across Arizona sports betting.
Arizona has four DI teams: the Arizona Wildcats, Arizona State Sun Devils, the Grand Canyon Antelopes, and Northern Arizona Lumberjacks.
Currently at Caesars Sportsbook Arizona, the Wildcats easily have the best March Madness odds at +1000 to win the Big Dance.
How the Wildcats, Sun Devils Stack Up
The Arizona Wildcats have been playing basketball since the 1904-1905 season, although their first game was against a YMCA. The team made its first NCAA appearance in 1951 and was an NCAA perennial starting in the late 1980s – from 1985-2009 they made the NCAA Tournament for 25 straight years, a remarkable streak that unfortunately came well ahead of Arizona betting apps.
The Wildcats won the national championship under legendary coach Lute Olson in 1997, beating the Kentucky Wildcats – talk about a ’Cat fight – 84-79 in OT. Arizona also made the Final Four in 1988, 1994, and 2001 (lost in the finals to Duke).
This year’s Wildcats are ranked 13th in the RPI and are 25-6, 14-6 in the Pac-12. Coach Tommy Lloyd’s team is led by 6-11 junior Azuolas Tubelis from Lithuania and 7-0 junior Oumar Ballo from Mali. They will be the 2-seed in the Pac-12 Tournament and play Thursday night against the winner of No. 7 Utah vs. No. 10 Stanford.
Arizona State heads into the Pac-12 tournament as the 6-seed with a Wednesday night game against No. 11 Oregon State. Bobby Hurley’s Sun Devils at 20-11, 11-9, are an experienced group with three senior starters, 6-1 junior DJ Horne and 6-1 sophomore Frankie Collins. Big in the middle with 7-0 senior Warren Washington, the Sun Devils are smaller on the perimeter with seniors 6-6 Devan Cambridge and 6-4 Desmond Cambridge, who started his career at Brown before transferring to Nevada then Arizona State.
Historically, Arizona State has appeared in the NCAA Tournament 16 times, and made it to the Elite Eight three times, the last time in 1975. This season the Sun Devils are at 61 in the RPI and will likely need a fantastic showing in the Pac-12 Tournament to secure an at-large bid.
Read up on how these teams will fare in the conference tournament here.
Antelopes and Lumberjacks, Who Knew?
The Grand Canyon Antelopes (123 RPI, 20-11, 10-7 WAC) joined the Western Athletic Conference for the 2013-14 season, their first in DI. For their first six seasons they were coached by former Phoenix Sun Dan Majerle, and for the last three by Bryce Drew, formerly of Valparaiso.
Their only NCAA Tournament trip was in the shortened 2020-2021 season, where, as a 15-seed, they lost to Iowa. A run in the WAC Tournament, which starts Tuesday with a game against UT Arlington, is not out of the question: They beat the 2-seed Sam Houston St. on the road earlier in the season. The Antelopes are led by 6-4 sophomore Ray Harrison. At BetMGM Sportsbook Arizona, the Antelopes are favored by 9.5 points over UT Arlington.
Last up in Arizona are the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks, who had a tough year going 9-22, 5-13 but then won their first two games in the Big Sky Tournament and are now just two wins from the Big Dance. They face Montana Tuesday. NAU has competed in the Big Sky since 1970.
Northern Arizona has made two NCAA Tournament appearances: In 1998 the Lumberjacks were chopped down by Cincinnati 65-62 and in 2000 they lost to St. John’s 61-56. Both times they played great, considering they were a 15-seed.
Where Does The State Rank?
We have Arizona 12th on our state chart of most March Madness appearances (per school). With some states having more than 20 eligible schools, BetArizona.com took the number of appearances by a state and divided it by the number of schools to make it equal for states with fewer schools.
Kansas is No. 1. This year will mark the University of Kansas’s 51st appearance in the NCAA tournament and 33rd straight. Kansas only has three DI teams and Kansas State and Wichita State have also both been successful.
Looking for the best Arizona sports betting promo codes for March Madness? Keep reading BetArizona.com.