West Regional Final Betting Picks: #2 Arizona Wildcats vs #1 Wisconsin Badgers

2015 NCAA Tournament
West Regional Final
#1 Wisconsin Badgers vs #2 Arizona Wildcats

Staples Center – Los Angeles, California
Saturday, March 28, 2015, 6:09 pm Eastern, TV: TBS
Opening Line: Arizona -1
Current Line: Arizona -1 (-115)
Opening Total: 133 1/2
Current Total: 133 1/2
Opening Money Line: Arizona -125 / Wisconsin +105
Current Money Line: Arizona -125 / Wisconsin +105

Wisconsin and Arizona meet for the second straight season in the Elite 8 Saturday in Los Angeles.
Wisconsin and Arizona meet for the second straight season in the Elite 8 Saturday in Los Angeles.

Last season, the #2 seed Wisconsin Badgers upset the #1 seed Arizona Wildcats 64-63 in overtime in the West Regional Final in Anaheim. The two teams meet again in the Elite 8 this season Saturday in Los Angeles. This time the Badgers are the #1 seed and the Wildcats are the #2 seed. both teams are 34-3 overall. The winner will face either Kentucky or Notre Dame from the Midwest region in the Final Four next week in Indianapolis.

Overall, the Badgers lead the series 4-2 against the Wildcats. Wisconsin has won 4 of the last 5 games against Arizona. The teams are meeting in the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time since 2000.

Arizona won the Pac 12 regular season title with a  16-2 record and also won the Pac 12 Tournament. The Wildcats beat #15 Texas Southern 93-72 in the second round and #10 Ohio State 73-58 in the third round Saturday, both in Portland. The Wildcats beat #6 seed Xavier 68-60 in the Sweet 16 Thursday, despite trailing by 7 points with 7 minutes left in the game.  Arizona has won 1 straight games. The Wildcats are making their 29th appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 1985 and 1th trip to the Elite 8. Arizona looks to return to the Final Four for the 5th time and first since 2001. Arizona went 13-0 against NCAA Tournament teams this season.

Wisconsin won the Big Ten by two games at 16-2. The Badgers won the Big Ten Tournament by beating Michigan State 80-69 in overtime in the championship game. Wisconsin beat #15 Coastal Carolina 86-72 in the second round and #8 Oregon 72-65 in the third round, both in Omaha. Wisconsin pulled away late against #4 seed North Carolina for  a 79-72 win in the Sweet 16 Thursday.The Badgers are making their 17th straight trip to the tournament and 21st overall. Wisconsin is making their sixth trip to the Elite 8. The Badgers are looking for their fourth ever trip to the Final Four and second straight.  Wisconsin went 14-2 against NCAA Tournament teams this season.

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Arizona, coached by Sean Miller, has 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 and Utah. Arizona is 23-14 ATS and the total is 16-21 this season. The Wildcats were 10.5 point favorites against Xavier and the total was 135.5.

Wisconsin is coached by Bo Ryan. The Badgers have a home loss to Duke and road losses to Rutgers and Maryland. The Badgers have won 19 of the last 20 games, including 9 straight. Wisconsin has key home wins over Green Bay, Boise State, Buffalo, Penn State, Purdue, Nebraska, Iowa, Indiana, Northwestern, Illinois, Minnesota and Michigan State, neutral site wins over UAB, Georgetown and Oklahoma in a tournament in the Bahamas, Michigan, Purdue, and Michigan State in the Big Ten Tournament plus road wins over Marquette, Milwaukee, Cal, Northwestern, Michigan, Iowa, Nebraska, Penn State, Minnesota and Ohio State. The Badgers are 19-17-1 ATS and the total is 17-20 this season. Wisconsin was a 6 point favorite over North Carolina and the total was 144.5.

Wisconsin is outscoring teams 72-56. The Badgers are #7 nationally in points allowed. Wisconsin is shooting 47.6% from the field including 34.8% from 3 point range. The Badgers are #25 nationally in field goal percentage. Wisconsin makes 75% of their free throws and is #20 nationally in the category. Opponents are shooting 41.6% from the field and 34.9% from 3 point range. Wisconsin averages 34 rebounds per game and opponents average 25.3 per game. The Badgers are #3 nationally in rebounds allowed. Wisconsin averages 12.3 assists, 7.5 turnovers, 4.5 steals and 3.6 blocks per game. Opponents average 8.1 assists, 10.3 turnovers, 3.9 steals and 1.8 blocks per game.

Wisconsin forward Frank Kaminsky averages 17.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 1.6 blocks per game. He is probable for personal reasons. Sam Dekker averages 13.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.1 assists per game. Nigel Hayes averages 12.1 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game. Guard Traevon Jackson averages 9.4 points, 1.7 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.1 steals per game. Jackson returned against North Carolina after missing the previous 19 game with a foot injury. Josh Gasser averages 7 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists. Duje Dukan, Bronson Koenig, and Vitto Brown will also get minutes in the rotation.

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Arizona is outscoring teams 77-59 this season. The Wildcats are #20 in scoring and #15 in points allowed nationally. Arizona is shooting 49.3% from the field and 36.2% from 3 point range. The Wildcats are #9 in field goal percentage nationally. Arizona makes 67.6% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 39.4% from the field and 33.1% from 3 point range. The Wildcats are #31 nationally in field goal defense. Arizona averages 37.2 rebounds per game and opponents average 24.7 per game. The Wildcats are #1 nationally in rebounds allowed and #46 in rebounding. Arizona averages 14.2 assists, 11.2 turnovers, 7.2 steals and 3.6 blocks per game. Opponents average 9.7 assists, 14 turnovers, 4.7 steals and 2.6 blocks per game.

Forward Stanley Johnson averages 14.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.5 steals per game. Brandon Ashley averages 12.4 points and 5.4 rebounds. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson averages 11.3 points, 6.9 rebounds 1.5 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.1 blocks per game. T.J. McConnell averages 9.9 points, 3.8 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 2.1 steals per game. Kaleb Tarczewski averages 9.2 points and 5 rebounds per game. Gabe York averages 8.9 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game.  Guard Trey Mason is out indefinitely with a knee injury.

Arizona is 5-0 ATS after failing to cover, 4-0 in Saturday games,  6-1 against Big Ten teams, 12-4 against teams with winning records, 15-5 overall, 14-5 after a straight up win, 1-4 in NCAA Tournament games and in non-conference games.

Wisconsin is 4-1 ATS against Pac 12 teams, 20-7-1 in non-conference games, 8-3-1 in NCAA Tournament games, 13-5-1 in neutral site games, and 3-7 after a cover.

When the brackets came out fans across the country anticipated a rematch of one of the best games of last year’s tournament. Now we have it and it should live up to the hype. Both have top 15 defenses but Arizona is better on offense. I think the Wildcats return the favor and upset the Badgers to get to the Final Four.

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