The Arizona Wildcats make their 36th trip to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament on Friday as the No. 1 seed in the South Region, squaring off against Wright State in San Diego at 4:27 p.m. Arizona time on truTV.
The Wildcats have posted an all-time mark of 56-34 in March Madness, capturing the 1997 national championship and qualifying for the Final Four in 1988, 1994, 1997 and 2001.
Arizona is set to make its first trip to the Big Dance under coach Tommy Lloyd after the longtime Gonzaga assistant replaced Sean Miller during the offseason. The team is one of the national championship favorites in this year’s tournament.
Whether Lloyd, who guided the Wildcats to a 31-3 mark and the program’s first No. 1 seed in the tournament in eight years, can get Arizona back to the promised land is uncertain.
But one things is certain: Arizona sports betting fans are hoping the Wildcats can change their fortunes against the spread in this year’s tournament. Here’s a breakdown of how Arizona has fared against the spread in their last 10 trips to the Big Dance.
Arizona ATS Last 10 NCAA Appearances
|Last 10 app.||12-13|
Wildcats Sport Mixed March Madness Success
The Wildcats have seen their fair share of success and failure for college basketball betting customers in the NCAA Tournament dating back to 2007.
The program, under the tutelage of Lute Olson and Sean Miller during that stretch, went 12-13 against the spread in NCAA tournament games — making three Elite Eights, but zero Final Fours.
The Wildcats’ best March Madness stretch came in 2013, when a sixth-seeded Arizona squad during Miller’s third year went 3-0 against the spread.
That team knocked off Belmont as a 4.5-point favorite, 81-64, before beating Harvard as a 10-point favorite, 74-51, in the second round. The Wildcats’ run in 2013 came to an end against Ohio State in the Sweet 16, but Arizona covered the 3.5-point spread, falling to the Buckeyes, 73-70.
Other notable runs for Arizona, spread-wise, came in 2009 (2-1 ATS), 2011 (3-1 ATS), and 2017 (2-1 ATS).
The Wildcats have also had their share of March flameouts, including 2018 — when as the fourth seed they lost to 13-seed Buffalo, 89-68, in Boise as a nine-point favorite.
Other one-and-done March Madness appearances happened in 2007 (losing to Purdue), 2008 (losing to West Virginia), and 2016 (losing to Wichita State).
The Wildcats’ run in 2014 was unique, as Arizona made the Elite Eight despite failing to cover the spread in three of the team’s four games.
That year Arizona beat Weber State by nine as a 20-point favorite in the opening round, followed by a 23-point victory over Gonzaga as a 7.5-point favorite, and a six-point win over San Diego State as a 7.5-point favorite.
The Wildcats run came to an end against Bo Ryan’s Wisconsin squad in the Elite Eight, however, with Arizona falling 64-63.
What Does the 2022 Tournament Have in Store?
Arizona opened as a 21.5-point favorite at BetMGM Arizona for its first round game against Wright State.
Other No. 1 seeds — Baylor (-20.5 vs. Norfolk State), Kansas (-22.5 vs. Texas Southern), and Gonzaga (-23.5 vs. Georgia State) — are comfortable favorites in their first-round showdowns. But a year ago, No. 1 seeds were just 2-2 against those large spreads in the first round.
The Wildcats racked up 15 wins, or roughly half of their victories, by 20 points or more during the regular season.
With a win Friday, the Wildcats would face either TCU or Seton Hall, in a game against a Power Five, defensively minded squad.
We’ll see how the Wildcats fare against the spread in 2022, though if history serves as a barometer, Arizona sportsbooks and apps should expect their fair share of tightly contested games in the weeks ahead.