March Madness Expectations: Two Arizona Teams High on Player Efficiency Ratings

March Madness Expectations: Two Arizona Teams High on Player Efficiency Ratings
Fact Checked by Pat McLoone

For the third time in four years, the Grand Canyon State will have two teams in the field of 68 at the NCAA Tournament, as the Arizona Wildcats and Grand Canyon Antelopes head off to play in the first round.

With it, comes added energy in Arizona sports betting.

The Wildcats secured the second seed in the tournament’s West region, facing Big West champ Long Beach State in Salt Lake City on Thursday. The ‘Lopes grabbed the 12th seed in the West region and will play fifth seed St. Mary’s in Spokane on Friday. – your source for DraftKings Arizona and other apps - averaged out the 2023-24 player efficiency ratings (PER) for each team in the NCAA Tournament and ranked the teams accordingly. Based on this, the McNeese Cowboys have the most efficient team with an average PER of 20.36.

Top 15 Highest Average Player Efficiency

RankTeamAvg. Player Efficiency Rating
1McNeese Cowboys20.36
2St. Mary’s Gaels19.82
3Montana State Bobcats19.10
4Alabama Crimson Tide19.09
5Gonzaga Bulldogs18.96
6Grand Canyon Antelopes18.22
7Stetson Hatters17.51
8Arizona Wildcats17.42
9Texas Tech Red Raiders17.28
10Baylor Bears16.87
11Colorado State Rams16.57
12UConn Huskies16.56
13Iowa State Cyclones16.18
14UAB Blazers16.15
15Florida Atlantic Owls16.03


Where Antelopes & Wildcats Rank

Nationally, the Antelopes have the sixth-best average player efficiency rating (18.22) and the Wildcats (17.42) rank eighth nationally. Both squads rank behind national PER leaders McNeese (20.36), St. Mary’s (19.82), Montana State (19.10), Alabama (19.09) and Gonzaga (18.96).

As for the pair of local teams’ chances, the ‘Lopes face much longer odds in their opening game against the Gaels (+190 on ESPN BET Arizona). Arizona is listed at -4500 against The Beach.

Nationally, both Arizona CBB teams rank ahead of teams Texas Tech (17.28 PER), Baylor (16.87), Colorado State (16.57), UConn (16.56), Iowa State (16.18), UAB (16.15) and FAU (16.03) when it comes to Player Efficiency Ratings. All those teams are in the top 15, though.

Whether that metric alone will help spark a March run to remember in Phoenix and Tucson remains to be seen. Arizona enters March Madness with the fourth-best title odds in the nation (on ESPN BET Arizona). Grand Canyon is at +1100.

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Christopher Boan is the lead writer at after covering sports and sports betting in Arizona for more than seven years, including stops at, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.

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