Sean Miller take on his former team for the second time Thursday night as Arizona looks to get back to the Elite Eight by beating Xavier. The Musketeers are the highest seed remaining in the tournament, and recorded an impressive victory over Florida State to reach this round.
Here’s everything you need to know to watch the Sweet 16 matchup:
Xavier vs. Arizona Viewing Info
Date: Thursday, March 24, 2017
Start Time: 10:09 p.m. ET
TV Channel: TBS
Live Stream: March Madness Live or CBS All Access
Spread: Xavier (+7.5), per OddsShark.com
Moneyline: Xavier (+270); Arizona (-325)
Head-to-Head History: These teams have met once before: The 2015 Sweet Sixteen. There, Arizona made a second-half comeback to come away with a 68-60 win.
Players to Watch
In the team’s previous meeting in 2015, Xavier relied on husky center Matt Stainbrook to do the dirty work inside. But it’s a different team for Xavier, and this year it’s Arizona that will have a definite size advantage.
This Xavier team relies on smaller players for it’s success, most notably Trevon Bluiett. Bluiett has stepped up since Xavier lost Edmond Sumner for the season, with a scoring average up over 17 points per game.
Other than Bluiett, Xavier is short on individual standout players. Arizona, meanwhile, has multiple ways to beat you. The team’s only senior is guard Kadeem Allen, and he’s mostly a defensive asset. The name to remember is Lauri Markkanen, a seven-foot freshman who can score both inside and out. Markkanen, along with guard Allonzo Trier, handle the bulk of the scoring for the Wildcats.
Arizona has the size advantage, but Xavier was also the smaller team in their previous matchup against Florida State. Xavier coach Chris Mack employed a zone defense for some stretches against the Seminoles, and expect a similar strategy Thursday night.