Obviously, you know that a 16 seed has never beaten a 1 seed. The odds are not just stacked against Weber State, they would have to make history to advance and beat Arizona. On paper, certainly, Arizona is the heavy favorite, but that's why they play the games. Here are some keys for the game that would help give Weber State a puncher's chance:
- Make outside shots - This is key for anyone trying to pull off a big upset - you have to be able to hit shots. Arizona is perhaps the best defensive team in the country - you are not going to break them down and get to the rim. Weber State is a very athletic team, but Arizona is even more athletic. Teams shoot 40.5% on twos against Arizona, second lowest rate in the country. To have a shot, Weber needs to make some threes, and they do have the shooters to be able to do that.
- Force Arizona bigs into foul trouble - Without Brandon Ashley, Arizona is perhaps most susceptible if you can get their big men into foul trouble (especially Kaleb Tarczewski and Aaron Gordon). Weber is a good team at drawing fouls, especially Davion Berry. I know I said they need to make a lot of threes, but they could also benefit from Berry trying to get to the rim, and ideally forcing some fouls.
- Don't let Arizona get second chance shots - Weber State is not a team that forces turnovers, and that will not change today.But, they are a good defensive rebounding team, and that trait needs to hold today. Once they force a miss, they HAVE to get the defensive rebound - you can't give up free baskets to teams as good as Arizona. Joel Bolomboy is one of the best rebounders in the nation, and he'll have to show it today.
- Survive the first ten minutes - I know that Weber State is confident they can go in there and shock the world - you simply wouldn't be a competitor if you didn't believe that no matter the odds. But if Arizona gets off to a big start right away, some of that belief could fade a little bit. They have to start out strong, and be at least even or close to it after the first ten minutes. Build up a little momentum, and the crowd will be on your side, at least the neutral fans that are in the house.
That is the anatomy of a Weber State upset. Ken Pomeroy's odds give them a 4% chance to win the game. If they are going to shock the world, these four keys will likely be a big part of it.
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