Everyone ready for more tourney talk? You don’t really have the opportunity to say ‘no’ a Sweet 16 play kicks off on Thursday and there is a must-see tilt ready to rock Staples Center down in sunny Los Angeles.
Now that we’ve had a couple days to sit back and mellow from the first weekend of tournament shenanigans, let’s take a hard look at Thursday’s big matchup between No.2 Arizona and No.6 Xavier.
It’s no secret that the Wildcats are the top dog headed into this Sweet 16 contest. They only give up an average 58.6 points a game–a bit daunting for a Musketeers squad that averages about 73.6 and has lost in most instances this past season when they put fewer points than that on the board.
Plus, Xavier is going to have a hard time getting points in the paint if Arizona’s defense puts on the smotherfest it did against Ohio State in the third round of the NCAA tournament. However, Xavier is coming off a win of its own and has had time to prepare for the mighty ‘Cats.
Plus, AZ can’t get too ahead of themselves, as we have seen during the regular season when they have a couple extra days off and then take a bit of time into a game to get warmed up. It wasn’t all that long ago that a slow start against Cal almost got them into trouble in Pac-12 tournament play. That winning recipe we talked about after last weekend? That will still be important in Thursday’s game against this Big East opponent.
Tip-off between Arizona and Xavier is scheduled for 7:17pm Pacific time.
*Section Photo credit to Christian Petersen, Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) credit to Casey Sapio, USA Today Sports