West region Second Round Betting Picks: #15 Texas Southern Tigers vs #2 Arizona Wildcats

2015 NCAA Tournament
West Region – Second Round
#15 Texas Southern Tigers vs #2 Arizona Wildcats
Moda Center – Portland, Oregon
Thursday, March , 2015, 2:10 pm Eastern, TV: TNT

Opening Line: Arizona -23
Current Line: Arizona -23 1/2
Opening Total: 135
Current Total: 134
Opening Money Line: Arizona – 7000 / Texas Southern +3000
Current Money Line: Arizona -8500 / Texas Southern +3500

Arizona is a 23 1/2 point favorite against Texas Southern in the West region second round Thursday in Portland.
Arizona is a 23 1/2 point favorite against Texas Southern in the West region second round Thursday in Portland.

Many thought the 31-3 Arizona Wildcats should have been one of the four #1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament. However, the Wildcts have to settle for being the #2 seed in the West region. Arizona opens play in the second round Thursday in Portland against the #15 seed Texas Southern Tigers. The winner will face either Virginia Commonwealth or Ohio State in the third round Saturday. This is the first ever meeting between Arizona and Texas Southern.

Texas Southern went 22-12 in the regular season and won the SWAC regular season title with a 16-2 record. The Tigers beat Southern 62-58 in the SWAC championship game to clinch their sixth NCAA Tournament bid and second straight. Texas Southern is 0-5 all-time in NCAA Tournament games. Despite starting off the season 3-10 in non-conference play due to a very tough non-conference schedule, the Tigers have won 11 straight games. TSU went 1-6 against NCAA Tournament teams.

Arizona won the Pac 12 regular season title with a  16-2 record. The Wildcats beat Oregon 80-52 in the Pac 12 Championship game Saturday in Las Vegas. Arizona has also won 11 straight games. The Wildcats are making their 29th appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 1985. Arizona went 10-0 against NCAA Tournament teams this season.

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Texas Southern is coached by Mike Davis. The Tigers have road losses at Eastern Washington, Indiana, Tennessee, Norfolk State, SMU, Baylor, Florida, Auburn, Gonzaga, New Mexico State, and Arkansas-Pine Bluff, plus a home loss to Prairie View. Texas Southern has home wins over  Alabama State and Southern, and road wins over Michigan State, Kansas State, Alabama State and Southern. The Tigers are 6-4 ATS and the total is 3-6-1this season. TSU was a 6 point favorite against Southern and the total was 130.

Arizona is coached by Sean Miller. The Wildcats have road losses at UNLV, Oregon State and Arizona State.  Arizona has home wins over CS-Northridge, UC-Irvine, Gonzaga, Michigan, Oakland, Arizona State, Colorado, Utah, Oregon, Oregon State, USC, UCLA, California and Stanford. The Wildcats also have neutral sight wins over Missouri, Kansas State and San Diego State in the Maui Invitational, Cal, UCLA and Oregon in the Pac 12 Tournament, and road wins over UTEP, Oregon, Stanford, California, Washington, Washington State, Colorado 82-54 and Utah. Arizona is 22-12 ATS and the total is 15-19 this season. The Wildcats were 12.5 point favorites against Oregon and the total was 147.5.

Texas Southern is outscoring teams 68-67 this season. The Tigers are shooting 44.4% from the field and 32% from 3 point range. TSU makes 66.2% from the free throw line. Opponents are shooting 44% from the field and 34.2% from 3 point range. The Tigers average 34.5 rebounds per game and opponents average 30.3 per game. TSU averages 10.9 assists, 13.1 turnovers, 6.1 steals and 3.1 blocks per game. Opponents average 12 assists, 12.3 turnovers, 6.5 steals and 3.8 blocks per game.

Madarious Gibbs averages 14.1 points, 3.4 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game. Chris Thomas averages 12.6 points, 5 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.2 steals per game. Deverell Biggs averages 11.4 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.6 steals per game. Malcolm Riley averages 10.2 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. Five other players average at least 12 minutes a game in the rotation. Forward Jose Rodriguez is out for the season with a knee injury.

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Arizona is outscoring teams 76-59 this season. The Wildcats are #27 in scoring and #21 in points allowed nationally. Arizona is shooting 49.3% from the field and 36% from 3 point range. The Wildcats are #8 in field goal percentage nationally. Arizona makes 68.8% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 40.2% from the field and 33.1% from 3 point range. Arizona averages 35.7 rebounds per game and opponents average 25 per game. The Wildcats are #2 nationally in rebounds allowed. Arizona averages 13.7 assists, 11.7 turnovers, 7.3 steals and 3.3 blocks per game. Opponents average 10 assists, 14.7 turnovers, 5.1 steals and 2.2 blocks per game.

Forward Stanley Johnson averages 14.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.5 steals per game. Brandon Ashley averages 11.4 points and 5.3 rebounds. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson averages 11 points, 6.4 rebounds 1.6 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.1 blocks per game. T.J. McConnell averages 9.7 points, 3.9 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 2.1 steals per game. Kaleb Tarczewski averages 8.3 points and 5 rebounds per game. Gabe York averages 8.7 points, 1.5 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game.  Guard Trey Mason is out indefinitely with a knee injury.

Texas Southern is 2-6 ATS after a straight up win and 4-1 in non-conference games.

Arizona is 11-2 ATS against teams with winning records, 13-3 after a straight up win, 4-1 after a cover, 19-7 overall, 8-3 after a straight up win of 20 points or more, 23-9 in Thursday games and 7-3 in NCAA Tournament games.

Texas Southern is battle tested as they played a lot of very good teams in non-conference play. Yes, the Tigers upset Michigan State and Kansas State on the road but for the most part they got destroyed by double digits in almost every game. That trend should continue against what might be the second best team in the country outside of Kentucky.

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