Home » Blog » Arizona, Wisconsin Meet In Elite Eight

Arizona, Wisconsin Meet In Elite Eight

Top-seeded Arizona will look to advance to the Final Four with a win over Wisconsin.

Top-seeded Arizona will look to advance to the Final Four with a win over Wisconsin.

For all the talk of underdogs and upsets that has accompanied this year’s NCAA tournament, one region has stood firm at least.

The West Region will send its two best teams into Saturday’s regional final in Anaheim as top-seeded Arizona faces second-seeded Wisconsin.

Tip-off at the Honda Center is scheduled for 8:49 p.m. ET.

While there may be no Cinderella storylines supplementing this matchup, there’s plenty to get excited about as the potent offense of Arizona comes up against the stingy defense of Wisconsin with a place in the Final Four on the line.

Arizona (33-4) has gotten this far almost by rote. Ranked sixth in the nation by both the Associated Press and the bookmakers ahead of the season, the Wildcats ploughed through the regular season navigating a few bumps in the road late in the season before entering the Big Dance with a No. 1 seed.

For the most part, things have gone according to plan since the dance started. A 68-59 victory over Weber State in the Round of 64 was followed by an 84-61 thrashing of Gonzaga in the Round of 32.

Things got a little trickier in Thursday’s Sweet 16 matchup against San Diego State, a contest that for many is already the game of the tournament.

The Aztecs forced the Wildcats out of their game plan for the first half before taking a 40-32 lead with just under 17 minutes left on the clock. But Sean Miller’s team rallied together and put on one heck of a comeback. Having missed his first 10 shots of the game, Nick Johnson tallied 15 points – including 10-of-10 from the free throw line – down the stretch to help his team secure a 70-64 victory and head to a 10th appearance in the Elite Eight.

The Wildcats may not have been convincing for all 40 minutes, but they showed the type of grit and resolve you’d expect of a national championship contender. And a contender they are.

Online sportsbook Bovada had the Wildcats listed at 15/4 to win the title, behind only Florida (13/5).

But before the Wildcats can think about a trip to AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, and a first Final Four appearance since 2001, they’ll have to fend off the side from Madison.

Having scalped some of the elite teams already this season, Wisconsin will look to pick off Arizona in the West Regional Final Saturday, booking a trip to Dallas in the process.

Having scalped some of the elite teams already this season, Wisconsin will look to pick off Arizona in the West Regional Final Saturday, booking a trip to Dallas in the process.

Rated at 50/1 before the season, good enough to rank 16th in the nation, Wisconsin (29-7) wasn’t exactly a no-hoper when the season tipped off. The Badgers have flown under the radar for much of the season though, due in a big part to a miserable 4-5 start to conference play.

The Badgers continue to fly under the radar, or at least as under as any team can at this time of the season. But perhaps more people should be paying attention.

Wisconsin made short work of American University in the Round of 64, taking a job-done 40-point victory. The Round of 32 placed Oregon in the Badgers’ way, but an 85-77 victory was enough to see Bo Ryan’s side through to the Sweet 16.

On Thursday, the Badgers dominated a Baylor side some thought offered a good chance of providing an upset.

Junior forward Frank Kaminski had a superb game at both ends of the floor for Wisconsin, tallying 19 points, four rebounds, three assists and six blocks, while Ben Brust had 14 points and six boards to go alongside Nigel Hayes’ 10-point, six-rebound performance off the bench.

The Badgers’ defense held the Bears to 31.6 percent shooting and 52 points, 23 below their season average, and rolled to a 17-point victory at the Honda Center, setting up Saturday’s regional final.

Vegas took note of the dominant performance. Wisconsin was listed at 9/1 to win a national championship on Friday, fifth amongst those teams still alive (and prior to Friday’s quartet of Sweet 16 fixtures).

With wins over Florida, Virginia, Michigan and Michigan State to go along with this year’s tournament victories, the Badgers are looking like a dark horse threat. But can they get past the Wildcats?

Wisconsin Badgers vs. Arizona Wildcats odds for 03/29/2014

Arizona (-150) opened as the favorite over Wisconsin (+130) when the moneyline was unveiled on Friday.

Saturday’s tilt will be the first matchup between the sides since a regular season game on November 23, 2009, a game the Badgers won 65-61 in Hawaii.

The two schools have met twice before in the NCAA tournament. On March 18, 2000, Wisconsin defeated a top-seeded Arizona side featuring future NBAers Gilbert Arenas, Luke Walton and Richard Jefferson, 66-59 in the Round of 32. On March 17, 2006, Arizona handed Wisconsin a 94-75 drubbing in the Round of 64.

That leaves the sides tied at one-apiece in tournament play, and Wisconsin with a 2-1 advantage in overall play.

The spread opened at 3 in favor of the Wildcats.

Both Wisconsin (19-16-1 ATS) and Arizona (21-15-0 ATS) have had more success than not against the spread this season, but that’s not quite been the case during the NCAA tournament.

The Badgers are 3-0-0 ATS since the tournament began, while Arizona is just 1-2-0 ATS.  The Wildcats’ struggles stretch a little further back too; the side is just 3-5-0 ATS over the last eight.

The total opened at 130.

Arizona (12-23-1) very much favored the under this season while Wisconsin (20-16-0) has favored the over.

The Badgers have seen the total go under in two of their three tournament games, but the over has paid out in five of their last seven overall. The over has paid out in two of Arizona’s three tournament games so far.

For a full list of today’s College Basketball odds, click here.

For a current list of College Basketball futures, click here.

For the latest College Basketball team prop bets, click here.

For the latest College Basketball player prop bets, click here.

  • 100%