The No. 2 seed Arizona Wildcats (31-3) take on the No. 15 seed Texas Southern Tigers (22-12) in the Round of 64 to open up the 2015 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
Arizona defeated the Oregon Ducks in the PAC-12 Championship game en route to their 11th consecutive win entering the tournament. Arizona went 16-2 in the regular season against PAC-12 teams as they went on to win their second straight conference championship. It was the first time the Wildcats have won back-to-back conference championships since the 1992 and 1993 seasons.
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The Wildcats are 17-1 in their last 18 games. The one loss was an 81-78 defeat on the road to in-state rival Arizona State. Since that game Arizona has defeated nine of their 11 opponents by double-digits and beat both Utah and UCLA by six points apiece in the other contests.
Through nine games the Texas Southern Tigers carried a 1-8 record. Five of those nine opponents are tournament teams this year (Eastern Washington, Indiana, SMU, Baylor, and Gonzaga). All it took was one game to turn the Tigers’ season around a whole 180 degrees.
The Tigers trailed the No. 25 Michigan State Spartans by five points on the road at the half. Texas Southern would outscore Michigan State 30-25 in the second half to force overtime. The Tigers stunned the Spartans and their fans by outscoring them 16-9 in the extra frame to walk out of East Lansing with a victory. It was Texas Southern’s first victory over a top-25 team since 1994.
Texas Southern entered Southwestern Athletic Conference play with a 3-10 overall record, but after a regular season mark of 16-2 and sweeping all three contests in the conference championships they finished the season with a 22-12 record. The Tigers won their final 11 games of the season just like the Wildcats. Only six of the 11 victories were by double-digits however.
Arizona enters the contest as 22.5 point favorites and unless this March has some insane “madness” the Wildcats should advance to the next round.
Here is where you can watch the game:
Date: March 19, 2015
Tip-Off: 11:10am MST
Location: Portland, Oregon
Stadium: Moda Center at the Rose Quarter
TV Channel: TNT