The Arizona Wildcats escaped the TCU Horned Frogs in the Round of 32 with an 85-80 overtime win to make the Sweet 16. Now, Arizona will be dealt an even tougher matchup against the Houston Cougars.
Houston made it to the Final Four last season, where they were stopped by the title-winning Baylor Bears. The five-seed Cougars have a completely different roster this year but still have their eye on advancing deep into the tournament.
On the other hand, Arizona basketball is back on the map thanks to first-year head coach Tommy Lloyd. Lloyd has done an outstanding job giving the program a boost and leading the one-seed Wildcats to a 33-3 record thus far.
Which team will come out on top in the South Regional Semifinal? Here are our Arizona vs Houston picks and predictions for Thursday’s highly-anticipated Sweet 16 matchup.
Arizona vs Houston Odds
Arizona vs Houston March Madness odds are current as of Monday, March 21, at 10 a.m. ET via Caesars Sportsbook.
- Moneyline: Arizona (-135) vs Houston (+115)
- Spread: Arizona -2 (-110) vs Houston +2 (-110)
- Over/Under: Over 145 (-110) / Under 145 (-110)
- Implied Score: Arizona 73.5, Houston 71.5
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Arizona vs Houston Odds
Houston reached the Sweet 16 with ease last season and has made it back this season with a much different squad than last year’s group, especially after starters Marcus Sasser and Tramon Mark went down with season-ending injuries.
In the grand scheme of things, head coach Kelvin Sampson has done an incredible job with this Cougars program, but his players are going to have their work cut out for them against the Wildcats.
Arizona is one of the most well-rounded teams in the nation, ranking third in field-goal percentage (49.6%), fourth in rebounds per game (41.6), and first in assists per game (19.8). The Wildcats also get to the line a ton, where they convert at an above-average 73.9% clip.
Arizona boasts an outstanding defense as well, which should lead to a low-scoring battle against Houston’s elite defense. The Cougars allow the lowest field-goal percentage (37.5%) in the country, while the Wildcats aren’t far behind at 38.5% (eighth-lowest).
Houston takes care of the ball, shoots well, and is aggressive on the offensive glass, but its struggles at the free-throw line (66.7%) could be fatal. It makes it hard to win close games where every point matters.
The spread is only -2 here for good reason. Both teams match up really well against each other and are top 20 in KenPom’s adjusted efficiency for offense and defense. The team with the final possession could win this game.
Because of the Cougars’ poor free-throw shooting, I have to side with the Wildcats in this one.
Arizona vs Houston Score Pick
Arizona 65, Houston 60
These two teams are very similar except for the fact that Houston uses 18.9 seconds per possession on offense while Arizona uses 15.1 seconds per possession. The Cougars will try to limit possessions and this game will likely be more of a defensive one than an offensive one, hence the low score prediction.
Arizona vs Houston Best Bets
UNDER 145 Total Points (-110) at Caesars
Wager: 1 Unit
The Cougars will do their best to slow this game down and play methodically on both ends of the floor, especially on offense where they’ll likely play in half-court sets for most of the game.
Both of these teams have terrific shot blockers and protect the rim well. With both teams ranking top 12 in opponent field-goal percentage for 2-pointers, there are going to be no easy baskets in this game.
Take the Under for our CBB bet of the day.
Arizona -2 (-110) at Caesars
Wager: 1 Unit
Arizona almost lost to TCU and probably should’ve lost, but don’t hold that against them. The Wildcats are hardly the first team to struggle to put away an inferior opponent.
This is a new game for Arizona and an entirely different matchup. I’m expecting both teams to play outstanding defense and keep this game tight.
- Want to place a parlay bet on this game? Click to read our Arizona vs Houston Same-Game Parlay.
Both offenses will likely struggle, but Arizona is the better-shooting team. Plus, if the game is close during crunch time, I’d much rather side with the Wildcats’ foul shooting.