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2017 March Madness Round of 64 – Arizona Wildcats vs. North Dakota Fighting Hawks Predictions, Picks and NCAA Basketball Betting Preview

2017 March Madness Round of 64 – Arizona Wildcats vs. North Dakota Fighting Hawks Predictions, Picks and NCAA Basketball Betting Preview

No. 2 Arizona vs. No. 15 North Dakota Preview

Where: Vivint Smart Home Arena – Salt Lake City, UT

When: Thursday, March 16, 2017 – 9:50 PM ET

Line: Arizona Wildcats (-17.5) vs. North Dakota Fighting Hawks (+17.5); total: 146.5 – view all NCAAB lines

TV Broadcast: TBS

College Basketball News and Previews

Betting on the Arizona Wildcats (-17.5)

The Arizona Wildcats will head into the Big Dance with momentum on their side after capturing the Pac-12 Tournament title in thrilling fashion at T-Mobile Arena on Saturday night. The Wildcats edged past the Oregon Ducks, 83-80, to grab their second league title in the last three years. Arizona used a balanced offensive attack to defeat Oregon in the championship game. Six players scored at least eight points for the Wildcats in that contest. Leading the way for Arizona in the final was Allonzo Trier who recorded a game-high 23 points and eight boards.

What makes Arizona’s win so incredible was that it did it even with limited production from Lauri Markkanen. He scored just 11 points on Saturday. For the Wildcats to go deep in this year’s tournament, they will need Markkanen to be more involved on the offensive end. The freshman center is second on the team in points (15.6) and is Arizona’s top rebounder (7.1). His burgeoning partnership with Trier makes the Wildcats one of the teams to beat in this year’s national tournament. Arizona is pegged at +750 to win the Big Dance this season.

Arizona will open its campaign this coming Thursday against North Dakota. This will be the second time in the last four years that the Wildcats will open their tournament play against the Big Sky champions. Head coach Sean Miller will have no worries, though, in this round-of-64 contest as Arizona is playing some of its best basketball at the moment.

Arizona averaged 76.4 points on 47.0 percent shooting in its Pac-12 regular-season games. The Wildcats also outscored opponents in conference play by 9.7 points per game and outrebounded their opponents by 6.5 boards. Trier’s return has been a major factor in Arizona’s sudden resurgence. Since coming back from a drugs-related suspension, Trier has led the Wildcats in scoring at 17.3 points per outing (15 games).

Arizona is 9-1 SU and 6-4 ATS in its last 10 games.

Betting on the North Dakota Fighting Hawks (+17.5)

North Dakota is going dancing. The Fighting Hawks booked a spot in the national tournament with a nerve-wracking 93-89 overtime victory over Weber State in the Big Sky championship game. North Dakota rallied from an 11-point second-half deficit to earn its first tournament bid in school history.

The Fighting Hawks have been playing some excellent basketball of late, winning 10 of their last 11 games. They rebounded strongly from a poor 5-6 start to register their most victories in a season since moving to the Division I level. The Fighting Hawks are ranked second in both scoring offense and scoring defense among Big Sky teams, averaging 80.5 points while holding opponents to just 72.8 points. North Dakota made 48.3 percent of its field goal attempts this season, including 38.7 from beyond the arc.

For the Fighting Hawks to record a major shock against Arizona, they will need to get an excellent performance from Quinton Hooker. The senior guard averages 19.1 points per game this season and leads North Dakota in free-throw shooting (87.7) and 3-point percentage (43.6). Hooker scored 28 points on 9-of-18 shooting from the field in the Big Sky finale against Weber State.

North Dakota (+100,000) is 9-1 SU and 7-2-1 ATS in its last 10 games.

Writer’s Prediction

Arizona (-17.5) wins and covers.

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Written by Joel

Sports Betting Tips, News, and Analysis