- Associated Press - Friday, March 17, 2017

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - No. 2 seed Arizona (31-4) vs. No. 7 Saint Mary’s (29-4)

Second round, West region; Salt Lake City; 7:45 p.m. EDT.

BOTTOM LINE: Saint Mary’s brings the No. 2 scoring defense in the nation to face an Arizona team that’s averaged 90.25 points in its last five games. The Wildcats have been one of the hottest teams in the country while winning the Pac-12 regular-season and tournament titles. The Gaels will have to keep Arizona’s elite athletes from getting easy transition baskets and the Wildcats will need to be patient with their halfcourt offense.

FAB FROSH: Arizona freshmen Lauri Markkanen and Rawle Alkins scored 20 apiece in the first round. Coach Sean Miller credited their steady influences for helping the team traverse some adversity as it dealt with injuries earlier in the season.

SHOWDOWN: Markkanen, expected to be a high first-round NBA draft pick, will battle Saint Mary’s 6-foot-11 center Jock Landale in a showdown of dominant big men. Landale is averaging 16.9 points and 9.4 rebounds.

PACE: Saint Mary’s faces the challenge of slowing down Arizona, but it was able to do exactly that against VCU’s breakneck pace in the first round. Its efficient offense can keep opponents from running off missed baskets.

GOOD LOSSES: Three of the Gaels’ four losses came against No. 1 seed Gonzaga.


For more AP college basketball coverage: https://collegebasketball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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