The first round of the NCAA Tournament has not gone exactly to plan for a good number of teams. TCU (21-12) put together one of the more surprising blowouts in their first-round matchup with Seton Hall, locking themselves in for a second-round showdown with the top seed in the South, the Arizona Wildcats.
Arizona (32-3) took care of business against Wright State, a program that never really had a real shot of pulling off a massive upset but did put on a respectable showing. The main takeaway from the game may have been Arizona never really had to stress about the game given their overall talent and skill advantage, but the gap will close a bit in this matchup with TCU.
Here is what you need to know heading into Sunday's matchup with a trip to the Sweet 16 on the line in San Diego.
South Region: No. 9 TCU Horned Frogs (21-12) vs. No. 1 Arizona Wildcats (32-3)
Time: Sunday, March 20 at 9:40 p.m. ET (approximately)
Where: Viejas Arena (San Diego)
Spread: Arizona -9.5
Keys for TCU
In what was supposed to be one of the closest contests in the first round, TCU dominated No. 8 Seton Hall in a 27-point victory. One of the big reasons for TCU's success was their dominance on the boards with a 39-26 rebound advantage against the Pirates. If TCU can find a way to control the boards against Arizona, that would go a long way to pulling an upset of the No. 1 seed. Arizona also performed well on the boards in their first-round matchup.
Mike Miles is coming off a 21-point effort in the win over Seton Hall. If he can keep up that level of scoring and TCU can keep things balanced or in their favor in the rebounding department, then TCU will have a shot at taking down the Wildcats.
Keys for Arizona
Although Wright State had a decent run in them following its victory in the First Four, Arizona was never really in much of a stressful situation in its first game of the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats should be prepared for a bit more of a battle against TCU if the first round was any indication. But the Wildcats can still rely on the advantage of having a balanced offensive attack. Four starters scored in double digits against the Raiders, led by Benedict Mathurin's 18 points.
Christian Koloko's double-double helped power the Wildcats to a victory as well, and he will once again have a strong presence on Sunday.
TCU should be capable of giving Arizona a good battle, but the Wildcats are too balanced and deep on the roster to overcome the challenge from the Horned Frogs. Expect to see a fairly good game from start to finish, but Arizona's scoring options will come through in the late segments of the game to advance to the Sweet 16.