The Arizona Wildcats men’s basketball team is back in the Sweet 16 for the first time in five years, thanks to a pair of victories over the weekend.
The Wildcats qualified for their 20th Sweet 16 on Sunday, thanks to outlasting ninth-seeded TCU< 85-80, in overtime.
That win came two days after the Wildcats shellacked 16th-seeded Wright State in Friday’s opening round, 87-70, setting the stage for Thursday’s game against fifth-seeded Houston.
The Wildcats and Cougars square off from San Antonio at 6:59 p.m. Arizona time on TBS.
Although Arizona won twice to keep its season alive, it continued its recent trend of struggling against the spread in the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats were 0-2 ATS over the weekend, falling to 12-15 in their last 11 tournaments.
Arizona Sees National Title Odds Fall
Tommy Lloyd’s bunch dropped a spot to No. 3 on the March Madness odds boards at several Arizona sportsbooks behind Gonzaga and Kansas.
Sportsbooks previously had the Wildcats behind the Bulldogs on their boards, with odds ranging from +600 to +650. Fast forward a week, and Arizona’s overall odds have narrowed a little, while Kansas has surged.
At BetMGM Arizona, the Wildcats are listed at +500 to capture the program’s first national title in 25 years, ranking behind Gonzaga (+230) and Kansas (+450).
Over at Caesars Sportsbook Arizona, Lloyd’s bunch finds themselves at +500, coming in behind the Bulldogs (+225) and Jayhawks (+475).
The oddsmakers at DraftKings Sportsbook Arizona see similar odds for the Wildcats, placing the Pac-12 champs at +550, behind the Bulldogs (+200) and Jayhawks (+400).
FanDuel Sportsbook Arizona has the Wildcats at +600 to win it all, ranking in a tie for second with the Jayhawks and behind the Bulldogs (+240).
How the Wildcats Matchup Against the Cougars
Arizona is an early two point college basketball betting favorite against Houston on Thursday night.
Thursday’s game features the second-closest Arizona sports betting odds of any Sweet 16 showdown, behind Duke vs. Texas Tech (Red Raiders are -1.5).
Kelvin Sampson’s team features a much slower, defensive-focused approach than the free-flowing spaced-based offense Lloyd preaches.
The Cougars average close to nine points a game less than the Wildcats (75.8 to 84.6), but also give up 14.5 points per game less (60.5 to 75.0).
Houston has been dominant in its first two March Madness contests, shellacking Illinois (68-53) and UAB (82-68) en route to the program’s third Sweet 16 in as many tournaments.
The Cougars are a year removed from the program’s sixth Final Four appearance and present the stiffest test of the postseason for the Wildcats, as they look to make the Final Four for the first time in 21 years.