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Arizona-Belmont: Prediction

Sean Miller

The time for talking is over. Photo by Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

SALT LAKE CITY — Belmont excels at shooting the 3-pointer. Arizona has struggled to defend the 3-pointer. Ergo … upset!

That’s been the quick logic that has had many experts and a certain leader of the free world to go with the 11th-seeded Bruins over the sixth-seeded Wildcats today in the NCAA Tournament.

Arizona has had extended defensive lapses in games, or even over a series of games, much to coach Sean Miller’s dismay. But the Wildcats, mostly, have the raw material — size, athleticism — to be an above average defensive team, and I have to think those attributes, combined with the effort and focus of March, will be enough to carry the day against Belmont.

The Bruins shoot 38.6 percent from 3-point range and make 8.5 per game, among the best marks in the country. But it’s not as if they can’t be shut down; Belmont has shot below 30 percent from behind the arc in four of the past seven games.

With Nick Johnson checking guard Ian Clark (a national-best 46.9 percent 3-point shooting), I think Arizona will handle the 3-point barrage and use its height superiority to win the rebounding battle by double digits.

As for the score …

Arizona 75, Belmont 65.

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