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No. 9 TCU vs. No. Arizona (-9.5)
Tip Sunday, 9:40 p.m. ET on TBS
Arizona’s highly intense offense was on display as they scored 87 points in the first-round win over Wright State. They shot an impressive 55% from three and from the floor, and they also crushed the boards with 46 rebounds. What’s made them so dominant all year is their ability to make you play their type of ball. With the seventh-highest tempo in the country, they force their opponents to play at their speed, and if that’s not their opponent’s style, they run into trouble, so this could be a difficult matchup for TCU as they’re one of the slower-paced teams in the country (243rd in tempo). On Friday, Guard Keri Kriisa was in uniform, but he did not play in the game as he’s been out since the Pac-12 quarterfinals after suffering an ankle injury. It was an excellent sign to see warming before the game and in uniform, so there’s a possibility we see him play on Sunday.
TCU’s defensive prowess was on display and had one of better showings in the first round as they held the Pirates to just 15 field goals made in the game and out-rebounded them 39-26. Although they finished just 8-10 in the Big 12, they had wins against Texas, Texas Tech, and Kansas towards the final stretch, so you know they can handle the pressure of playing a good team. The Horned Frogs will have to continue this exceptional defensive stretch as they don’t measure offensively. They averaged just 68.1 points per game this year (268th), but they have Mike Miles, whose 15 points per game were fifth in the Big 12, and he showed up with 21 points against Seton Hall. TCU plays physical, and they will need to turn that up to 11 against an Arizona team that can do the same. If they can continue to play as tough as they have recently, they have a shot.
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