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Long Beach State vs Arizona Odds, Props & Picks (March 21)

Ian Jones

by Ian Jones in College Basketball

Updated Mar 20, 2024 · 4:02 PM PDT

Arizona Wildcats basketball players Oumar Ballo and Keshad Johnson flexing their biceps.
Mar 15, 2024; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Arizona Wildcats center Oumar Ballo (11) and forward Keshad Johnson (16) celebrate in the first half against the Oregon Ducks at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
  • Long Beach State Beach vs Arizona Wildcats is set to take place in Salt Lake City, UT, on Thursday, March 21
  • The 15-seed Beach (formerly the 49ers) are massive +20.5 underdogs to advance past the 2-seed Wildcats
  • Read on for the latest Long Beach vs Arizona odds, props, and picks for Thursday morning’s first-round March Madness matchup

You would think that when a coach is let go by his school he would actually “go”. But that’s not the case with Long Beach State and lame-duck head coach Dan Monson.

Monson, who was fired a few weeks ago after 17 years at LBSU, was permitted to see the team’s season through to the end. Rather than go quietly, his squad instead ran the table to win the Big West Conference Tournament.

Living on borrowed time, Monson and the Long Beach State Beach (21-14, 16-17-0 ATS) poached themselves an invite to the big dance. Looking to put an end to his “free coaching” are the powerhouse Arizona Wildcats (25-8, 21-12-0 ATS), who picked up an at-large bid after capturing the Pac-12’s final regular-season title.

The #2 Wildcats are massive 20.5-point favorites heading into Thursday’s matchup against the #15 Beach. Tip-off is set for 2:00 pm ET at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City.

Long Beach State vs Arizona Odds

Team Spread Moneyline Total
Long Beach State Beach +20.5 (-110) +1300 Over 162.5 (-115)
Arizona Wildcats -20.5 (-110) -3333 Under 162.5 (-105)

At -3333, the Wildcats are overwhelmingly favored to advance past LBSU. Whether it’s Arizona or, by virtue of a shock upset, Long Beach who wins, the winner will advance to face either the 7-seed Dayton Flyers or the 10-seed Nevada Wolfpack.

The game total for this Beach/Wildcats matchup sits at 162.5. Arizona hit that number 15 of 33 games this season, while only seven of 35 Long Beach games eclipsed 162.5.


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Odds as of March 20 at BetMGM Sportsbook. Lock in the BetMGM promo code before betting on Long Beach vs Arizona. 


Long Beach State vs Arizona Team Stats

Long Beach State Beach
Arizona Wildcats
170th NET Ranking 4th
0-1 Quadrant 1 Record 8-3
3-2 Quadrant 2 Record 7-4
163rd KenPom Ranking 5th
147th (107.7) KP Adj Off Efficiency 8th (121.1)
210th (107.7) KP Adj Def Efficiency 11th (94.5)
27th (71.3) KP Adj Tempo 16th (71.8)
182nd (-0.53) KP Strength of Schedule 26th (+10.86)
148th (+1.53) KP Non-Conference SOS 11th (+10.45)
315th (30.81%) 3P% 23rd (37.12%)
214th (71.07%) FT% 181st (71.87%)
71st (77.7) PPG 3rd (87.9)
288th (75.7) Opp PPG 195th (72.2)

Long Beach Extends Season (and Coach’s Tenure) by Winning Big West

Long Beach State is back in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2012, but are doing so with the lowest seeding in school history. That they were able to make the tournament itself is a minor miracle.

Expectations were initially high for LBSU, as the Beach were tabbed to finish second in the Big West preseason poll. Early wins over USC and Michigan boosted that notion, but non-conference losses to Portland, Illinois State, and Louisiana before a mediocre 10-10 record in the Big West severely put a damper on the season.

That’s when the school announced, just before the Big West Tournament, that Monson would not return to coach next season. If the administration was hoping to spark the Beach, it worked.

LBSU would handle UC Riverside in their opener, before upsetting regular-season champ UC Irvine in the semis (to whom LBSU previously lost to by 11 and 21-points). The Beach would then hold off UC Davis in the conference final to claim the Big West’s automatic bid.

YouTube video

All it took to put a winning streak together at the perfect time was the firing a coach that was allowed to stay in the building.

One of this season’s standouts for LBSU is third-year big man Lassina Traore, who has averaged 14.3 PPG and 12.0 RPG over his last 10 games.

Arizona Poised for Deepest Run in Years

Everything appears to be back to normal in Tucson.

The Arizona Wildcats are back in the NCAA Tournament with a high seed for the third straight year, after missing out for three years. To be fair, once was due to COVID and another was a self-imposed ban. Nevertheless, “three years on” after “three years off” is something.

Counting this season, the Wildcats have now appeared in 35 of the last 39 NCAA Tournaments. But the question to ask of Arizona isn’t whether they are tournament mainstays, but rather, “how deep will the Wildcats go?”

Arizona has only made one Final Four since its lone national title win in 1997. The less said about last season’s loss to 15-seed Princeton the better.

YouTube video

The Wildcats are (per KenPom) ranked 8th in the country in adjusted-offensive efficiency, 11th on defense, and play at the 16th-fastest tempo, meaning they excel at both ends of the court and push teams until their breaking point. “Exhausted” may be an understatement for how Long Beach will feel after this one.

Roster-wise, they’re led by fourth-year UNC transfer and Pac-12 Player of the Year Caleb Love, who averaged 18.1 PPG, 4.7 RPG, and 3.4 APG, but has only managed 19 points in his last three games combined.

Long Beach State vs Arizona Player Props

Player Points Rebounds Assists Three-Pointers Made
Aboubacar Traore (LBSU) 10.5 (Ov -135 | Un -105) 8.5 (Ov +105 | Un -145) 4.5 (Ov -145 | Un +105) OFF
Caleb Love (ARIZ) 18.5 (Ov -110 | Un -130) 3.5 (Ov -105 | Un -135) 3.5 (Ov -135 | Un -105) 2.5 (Ov -130 | Un -110)
Jadon Jones (LBSU) 11.5 (Ov -120 | Un -120) 4.5 (Ov +125 | Un -165) OFF 2.5 (Ov +135 | Un -175)
Keshad Johnson (ARIZ) 11.5 (Ov -125 | Un -115) 5.5 (Ov +100 | Un -140) OFF 0.5 (Ov -210 | Un +155)
Lassina Traore (LBSU) 12.5 (Ov -110 | Un -130) 10.5 (Ov -105 | Un -135) OFF OFF
Marcus Tsohonis (LBSU) 16.5 (Ov -115 | Un -125) 2.5 (Ov -125 | Un -115) 2.5 (Ov -155 | Un +115) 1.5  (Ov -105 | Un -135)
Oumar Ballo (ARIZ) 13.5 (Ov -135 | Un -105) 10.5 (Ov -135 | Un -105) OFF OFF
Pelle Larsson (ARIZ) 12.5 (Ov -130 | Un -110) 3.5 (Ov -160 | Un +120) 3.5 (Ov -145 | Un +105) 1.5  (Ov +125 | Un -165)

Beach/Wildcats college basketball player props taken from DraftKings on March 20th. 

Long Beach State vs Arizona Picks & Prediction

Let’s start with the one common foe between Long Beach and Arizona: the USC Trojans.

The Beach did well to come from behind and win at USC in overtime and at the time was in the middle of a six-game winning streak. But their overall body of work, including 9 of their league losses that fell in the Quad 3/Quad 4 territory, suggests that win was the exception and not the rule.

In comparison, Arizona topped the Trojans by fifteen in January before USC returned the favor with a 13-point win in early March. The key difference between those games was that Arizona’s win occurred when the Pac-12 was still unfolding, while the loss came after the Wildcats wrapped up a conference title.

Factor in the Wildcats’ Quad 1 wins (at Duke, vs Michigan St & Alabama, and Colorado twice) and even their Quad 1 losses (vs Purdue, Florida Atlantic, and at Washington State), and the question isn’t whether Arizona will win, but by how much.

In Arizona’s eleven Quad 3/4 games, their average margin of victory was 26.4 points. I’m comfortable with taking the Wildcats to cover.

Long Beach State vs Arizona picks:

  • Arizona -20.5 (-110)
  • Caleb Love over 13.5 points (+115)
  • Lassina Traore over 10.5 rebounds (-105)


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