No. 2 Arizona vs. No. 7 St. Mary’s Prediction, Game Preview

    Arizona vs. St. Mary's prediction and game preview, as the No. 2 Wildcats and No. 7 Gaels face off in the NCAA Tournament second round.

    March 17, 2017

    Arizona vs. St. Mary’s prediction and game preview, as the No. 2 Wildcats and No. 7 Gaels face off in the NCAA Tournament second round.

    In the second round of the 2016-17 NCAA Tournament, No. 2 Arizona will take on No. 7 St. Mary’s in Salt Lake City, Utah.

    Randy Bennett’s Gaels were presented with a No. 7 seed after finishing the 2016-17 regular season with a 28-4 record. In the first round of the tourney, St. Mary’s went head-to-head with No. 10-seeded VCU and took down the Rams, 85-77.

    As for the Wildcats, Sean Miller led his team to a 30-4 record, which earned them a No. 2 seed on Selection Sunday. In the first round, Arizona was matched up against No. 15 North Dakota and came away with an easy victory, 100-82.

    Arizona vs. St. Mary’s Game Preview

    Date: March 18, 2017
    Time: 7:45 p.m. ET
    Venue: Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City, Utah
    Region: West

    Arizona Wins If …

    If the Wildcats dominate at the charity stripe like they did against the Fighting Hawks, it will be smooth sailing for Miller’s crew. Arizona went 24-of-28 from the free throw line and held North Dakota off the line for the most part, as it hit on only 8-of-16 free throws.

    Lauri Markkanen was terrific from the field, as he sent home 8-of-12 field goals for 20 points and pulled down six rebounds. Rawle Alkins also poured in 20 points and didn’t miss a single shot all night. He was 8-of-8 from the field, including the two threes he sank. If those two freshmen continue to play like four-year starters then — with Allonzo Trier also sharing the scoring load — Arizona will win.

    St. Mary’s Wins If …

    If the Gaels can rotate, close out and continue to lock down the perimeter, they’re going to make it tough on the Wildcats to hit from the outside. St. Mary’s stifled VCU from behind the arc, as the Rams knocked down only 2-of-13 three-point attempts.

    At the same time, the Gaels won the rebounding battle but allowed 11 offensive boards. St. Mary’s has to box out on the defensive end of the court, and it has to convert at the free throw line. It left 10 free points on the floor, going 29-of-39 from the line. The Gaels can’t do that against Arizona because the Wildcats can score in bunches and will push for triple digits on any given night.

    Arizona vs. St. Mary’s Prediction

    For most of the game, Arizona will dominate St. Mary’s. It is a game of runs, and the Gaels will piece together some scoring bursts of their own, but they’ll also see the well go dry multiple times against the Wildcats. That will cost them. Trier will crack the 20-point mark and will lead Arizona in scoring. Some missed threes in the second half will help the Wildcats shut the door on St. Mary’s title hopes.

    Arizona vs. St. Mary’s Score Prediction: Arizona 95, St. Mary’s 81

    MORE: Complete NCAA Tournament Bracket, Previews, Predictions


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