No.2 seed Arizona will be looking to get their NCAA Tournament off to a strong start when they face Texas Southern in the second round on Thursday.
Where: Moda Center, Portland.
When: Thursday March 19, 14:10 (ET)
Arizona come into the tournament with a 31-3 record and as the No.2 seed in the West Region, and the task ahead of them looks fairly straight forward against the No.15 seed Texas Southern who are 22-12 for the season.
The favourites will be looking to improve on their showing from last year when they were able to reach the regional final, but that’s where their story ended as they lost to Wisconsin.
Worryingly for their opponents, they enter the tournament on an 11-game winning streak and this is nothing new for coach Sean Miller who has reached the Elite Eight three times during his career at collegiate level.
He has taken Arizona there twice while he also achieved the feat during his stint with Xavier, but that will mean little to him in the bigger picture as he has never advanced to the Final Four.
What he will expect though is more defensive solidity from his team as they are allowing just 58.6 points per game on average this year, and they will need to guard against the upset as Texas Southern are 1-3 against top 25 teams but did claim that notable win at Michigan State in December.
Although they are 0-5 all time in NCAA Tournament games, there is always time for that to change this year despite the size of the task in front of them.
Arizona forward Brandon Ashley is averaging 12.3 points per game as well as 5.4 rebounds per contest, and he will have a point to prove after missing last year’s tournament due to injury.