2-Seeded Arizona Basketball hopes to avoid first-round upset vs LBSU

Nov 17, 2023; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA;  Long Beach State 49ers players celebrate after defeating
Nov 17, 2023; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA; Long Beach State 49ers players celebrate after defeating / Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - Beginning the NCAA Tournament as a two-seed in the West, Arizona Basketball (25-8, 15-5) takes on 15-seeded Long Beach State (21-14, 10-10).

The Madness is upon us! After a grueling regular season, 2-seeded Arizona Basketball kicks off tournament play with a matchup against 15-seeded Long Beach State.

Fresh off of a disappointing loss to the Oregon Ducks in the semifinal round of the Conference Tournament, the Wildcats enter the Round of 64 heavily favored against the 49ers, but as we have seen several times this year, Arizona cannot afford to overlook anyone!

Coming in, Long Beach State has had a bit of a Cinderella-like run. Despite previously riding a five-game losing streak and the school announcing that they would be parting ways with head coach Dan Monson, the 49ers have reeled off three straight wins, knocking off No. 2 UC Davis in their Conference Tournament to secure a bid in the NCAA Tournament.

Hopefully, we will see our Wildcats bring the focus and intensity as they are expected to, and if they do that, I see them winning on Thursday afternoon handily. However, despite them being heavily favored, Arizona cannot afford to overlook Long Beach State.

Getting to know the details about Arizona Basketball’s opponent, Long Beach State.

Team: Long Beach State 49ers

Conference: Big West Conference

Current Record: 21–14 (10–10)

Head Coach: Dan Monson. Entering his 27th season as a head coach (17th with Long Beach State), Coach Monson is currently 275–272 (166–112) with the Beach with two NCAA Tournament appearances and four NIT appearances. However, this will be the last season for Coach Monson at Long Beach State.

Before arriving at LBSU, Dan made stints as head coach with Gonzaga (1997-99) where he coached with Tommy Lloyd briefly, and with Minnesota from 1999-07. Overall, he is 445–395 with four NCAA Tournament appearances, multiple NIT appearances, and an Elite Eight finish with Gonzaga in 1999.

2022-23 Record: Finishing the 2022-23 season with a 17–16 (11–9) record, Long Beach State ended their year with a first-round loss to Cal Poly in the Conference Tournament.

So, as Arizona Basketball takes on Long Beach State, here is how you can watch and follow our Wildcats!

Arizona Basketball vs Long Beach State Information and Details:

Date: Thursday, March 21, 2024

Time: 11:00 AM Arizona Time

Television: TBS

Location: Delta Center – Salt Lake City, UT (20,000)

Spread: -20.5 Arizona (Don’t forget to sign up with Caesars Sportsbook or DraftKings to enhance your overall betting experience)

Overall Series Record: 7-0 Arizona. This is a head-to-head series that dates back to 1987-88 when these two teams first met. Overall, this is a matchup that the Wildcats have dominated, winning all seven of its meetings.

Last Meeting: Last squaring off during the 2019-20 season, Arizona beat visiting Long Beach State in Tucson by a 104-67 final. Nico Mannion led all scorers in that game with 22 points.

Arizona Basketball Game Preview:

March Madness is here and hopefully, the Wildcats have a better showing this year than they did last year!

Coming in, the Wildcats are fresh off of a disappointing loss to Oregon in the Semifinal Round of the Pac-12 Conference Tournament in which they were held to a season-low 59 points on 38.3 percent shooting from the field, including 5-19 (26.3 percent) from three.

As we saw on Friday, Oregon brought the focus and energy, meanwhile, Arizona fluttered, squandering a 14-point lead en route to a shocking loss to the Ducks. But now, that is all in the past, and the focus now turns to Long Beach State.

Largely led by senior guard Marcus Tsohonis, the Oregon native is having quite a year for Long Beach State, averaging 17.8 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game.

Beyond him, the 49ers have a bevy of talented athletes including brothers Aboubacar Traore & Lassina Traore, as well as talented wings Jadon Jones and AJ George. Together, this core makes up the vast majority of their production, and they are a skilled and athletic group.

Offensively, the 49ers like to control the tempo and push the pace a bit, averaging a respectable 77.7 points per game. However, they are not necessarily the most efficient offensive team. Overall, LBSU shoots a collective 44.7 percent shooting from the field, including 30.8 percent from three. 

They also tend to rebound well, averaging 38.5 rebounds per game. Their athleticism and aggressiveness on the glass should challenge the Wildcats, and they will need to mitigate their success as much as possible if they hope to win.

However, where they tend to struggle is on the offensive end. Yielding an average of 75.7 points per game, the Wildcats should have a favorable matchup so long as they take care of the basketball and attack the bucket. If Arizona can stick to its strengths, we like their chances of winning this one!

Hopefully, the Wildcats will be ready to go and will be able to get back on track against the 49ers. Tip-off for Thursday's game against Long Beach State is at 11:00 A.M. Tucson time, and the game will be broadcast on TBS.

Next. The Achilles heel(s) of Arizona Basketball heading into March Madness. The Achilles heel(s) of Arizona Basketball heading into March Madness. dark

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