The city of Las Vegas will be treated to a doubleheader of great basketball on Friday, as Arizona and Wichita State tip things off at T-Mobile Arena in a battle of a pair of teams playing lock-down defense.
Wichita State Shockers vs. Arizona Wildcats (-8, 136.5)
(stats as of Thursday morning)
Arizona is 11th in the country in points scored on a per-possession basis with 94 points per game and has been even more efficient on defense, ranking second in points allowed on a per-possession basis. The Wildcats have surrendered an average of just 49 points per game.
Wichita State enters undefeated just like Arizona, but it has been a bumpier ride, as they have scored 65 of fewer points in each of their three wins. However, the Shockers have allowed just 58 points or fewer in those games. Last year’s top scorer, Tyson Etienne, has been dealing with an illness and missed their most recent game against Tarleton State. They've certainly missed him.
The Wildcats are also 24th in the country in rebounding rate, getting an offensive rebound on 38 percent of their missed shots. They've also been active at the rim on defense, racking up 7.7 blocked shots per game.
Though Etienne is expected to be back for Wichita State, first-year Arizona coach Tommy Lloyd has his team holding opponents to a field goal percentage of 27.6 percent, which is the best mark in the country and will help to overwhelm the Shockers on Friday.
Pick: Arizona -8