NCAAB March Madness West Region Sweet 16 Betting Preview

Alex Murray
Alex Murray
28 Mar 24
Betting Magazine
News - NCAA
NCAAB March Madness West Region Sweet 16 Betting Preview

The first two rounds of March Madness are the best time of the year, but it only lasts four days, and those 48 games always whiz by somehow. So far, the West has pretty much gone to plan, with only two upsets occurring over the course of the first two rounds.

However, one of those victorious underdogs will be playing on Thursday night in Los Angeles, and Clemson will have to do the upset thing again, as they come as the second-largest dogs in Sweet Sixteen point spread betting markets. UNC will also look to continue their quest against the Crimson Tide in the West’s late matchup.


  • No. 1 UNC will welcome No. 4 Alabama’s go-for-broke offense in an easy win
  • No. 6 Clemson will have No. 2 Arizona in a dog fight
  • R.J. Davis will continue to stroke it from deep for UNC and Joe Girardi will find his range for Clemson
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NCAAB March Madness Sweet 16 West Regional Semifinals - March 28

All odds provided by Sports Interaction.


No. 2 Arizona  vs. No. 6 Clemson - 7:09PM

Arizona-313-7.5 (-110)O152.5 (-105)
Clemson+250+7.5 (-110)U152.5 (-115)

Before we get into the meat and potatoes of who will actually win this game, it’s worth considering the over/under for this Arizona vs. Clemson matchup. At 152.5, it’s one of the higher totals you’ll see for a March Madness game and is the third-highest of the eight Sweet 16 matchups.

Why that is, we’re not really sure. Neither team has hit the over in more than 50 percent of their games this season. In fact, both the Tigers and the Wildcats have combined to go 0-4 on the over so far in this tournament, with Clemson having hit the under in nine of their last 12 and Arizona doing the same in their last five straight and eight of their last 10.

If history matters to you, consider this: since 2014, the Tigers have played in 14 NIT or March Madness tournament games, and they’ve crossed the 150-point threshold just once. The under has also hit in eight of Arizona’s 13 non-conference games this year, which also bodes well for the under.

Clemson’s 147.9 combined scoring average this season is also a pretty hefty five points lower than the total for Thursday night’s game, which is another point in the under column. We hate betting unders because who wants to cheer against exciting stuff happening (and the Wildcats are No. 6 in tempo), but when the numbers and the trends tell you to do something, you’ve got to listen.

In terms of the result of this game, the decision is a little bit tougher. Arizona is the second-biggest favorite in the Sweet 16, and that might not be such a great thing against this Clemson squad: the Tigers have been underdogs in nine games this year and they’ve won six of them, including a 2-1 record as a moneyline dog of +250 or more. Clemson is also 8-1 ATS in those underdog games.

Clemson also has a strength right where the Wildcats have one of their few weaknesses: the three-point line. Arizona is a tough defensive team, but they rank near the bottom of the leaderboard when it comes to points allowed per play on catch-and-shoot and off-the-dribble three-pointers. In fact, 32.5 percent of points they’ve allowed this season have come from beyond the arc, which is 272nd in the nation, putting them in the bottom 100.

Meanwhile, Clemson has thrived from the three-point line this season, even if they’ve been ice cold across two tournament games. They ranked in the top 25 in the country for points per play from both catch-and-shoot and off-the-dribble three-point looks. The Tigers’ 35.3 mark from deep this year also puts them in the upper echelon of schools.

Another big reason Clemson is growing on us is that they won their first two tournament games by holding high-powered offenses to just 39 and 30 percent shooting from the field despite their top scorers struggling to find their rhythm. Guys like Joe Girardi and P.J. Hall won’t stay cold for long though; and more on the former in a minute.

Best Bet: Under 152.5 total points (-105)/Clemson +7.5 point spread (-110)

Best Arizona vs. Clemson Player Props

The man they call “Logo Joe” around Clemson’s campus has gone just 3-for-13 from deep so far in the tournament. Prior to his 1-for-5 effort against Baylor in round two, Joe Girardi had hit multiple triples in 18 straight games, and with Arizona’s struggles defending the three-point line, he’s in line for a big bounce back game.

For the year, he’s shooting an impressive 41.4 from beyond the arc while hitting 2.9 threes per game. Before the tournament, he had nailed three or more triples in nine of 12 contests, and we like him to return to that form on Thursday evening in L.A.

Best Bets: Joe Girardi III Over 2.5 three-pointers (-115)

No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 4 Alabama - 9:40PM

North Carolina-189-4.5 (+100)O173.5 (-110)
Alabama+155+4.5 (-120)U173.5 (-110)

Take a quick look at the total for this game and you can see why many are expecting this to be the most exciting matchup of the Regional Semifinals. That’s because both the Tar Heels and the Crimson Tide like to get out there and run. Alabama scores the most points per game in the nation and they do that because they play at the fastest pace in the country too.

That’s a major issue for the Tide here, because North Carolina also loves to play in transition, and they’re a much higher quality team, led by star guard R.J. Davis, who should have a field day with this Alabama transition defense.

UNC is 82nd in transition points per play, while ‘Bama is 169th in defensive transition points per play. That’s a recipe for success for Hubert Davis’ guys.

They already proved in the second round that their tempo will not be tempered, as one of the better transition defending teams in the country, Michigan State, was unable to slow Davis and company. If a Tom Izzo-coached team can’t do it, Alabama certainly won’t be able to either. The fact that safe betting sites like Sports Interaction have UNC’s spread offering plus odds made the choice that much easier.

Best Bet: North Carolina to cover -4.5 point spread (+100)

Best North Carolina vs. Alabama Player Props

In terms of player props, it’s all about R.J. Davis. The guy has been a machine this season, and that has continued into the tournament, where he’s scored 20+ in back-to-back games. He’s shooting a ridiculous 50 percent from deep so far in the tournament even while shooting seven triples per game.

Davis has scored 20+ in nine of his last 14 games, and he’s played his best in the biggest moments, averaging nearly 25 in the ACC tournament and 21.5 so far in March Madness. More importantly, he’s been on fire from deep, as he’s now hit 3+ triples in four straight games.

He has fallen short of a trio of triples in just eight of his last 29 games dating back to November 29. The fourth-year senior knows it’s his time, and right now, he’s playing like he wants the world to learn his name. Hop on the bandwagon.

Best Bets: R.J. Davis Over 22.5 points (-125)/R.J. Davis Over 2.5 three-points (-130)

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Alex is a recent graduate of Ryerson's Sport Media program in 2019 and has been contributing to BettingTop10 since 2020. He has worked in the field of sports and sports betting for several years, including writing for theScore and daily fantasy sports website FantasyPros as one of their lead NBA news writers. A dedicated sports fan and experienced sports bettor, Alex has the knowledge to provide you with the best betting advice and the sneakiest props no matter what the sport may be.