The University at Buffalo is back in the NCAA Tournament for the third time in four years. The Bulls are traveling west to Boise, Idaho, to meet the Arizona Wildcats for the first time in program history.
UB faces Arizona (27-7) on Thursday at approximately 9:30 p.m. The game will be shown on CBS.
Here are five things to know about UB's first round opponent:
1. Ayton is an NBA ready force
NBA scouts are drooling while watching forward DeAndre Ayton dominate college basketball. He has all the tools to develop into a generational big man, and there is virtually no chance that he falls outside the top 5 in the upcoming NBA Draft.
Ayton, the Pac-12 Player of the Year, is averaging 20.3 points, 11.5 rebounds and 1.9 blocks in 34 games this season. His 7-foot-5 wingspan makes him a difficult matchup for any team in the country.
Ayton had a spectacular Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas, averaging 24.7 points, 12.7 rebounds and two blocks over three games. He scored 30 or more points in two of the games, including a career-high 32-point performance against the University of Southern California in the Pac-12 championship game. Not surprisingly, he was named the tournament's most valuable player.
2. Another title in Tuscon
With their 75-61 win against USC, the Wildcats secured their seventh overall and second consecutive Pac-12 Tournament championship. Arizona has made the NCAA Tournament for nine consecutive years and 25 times overall but is looking to make its first Final Four since 2001.
3. Sean Miller isn't sitting out
Arizona's head coach, Sean Miller, only sat out one game after ESPN reported he was heard on an FBI wiretap discussing a $100,000 payment with an agent to land Ayton. He's vehemently denied the allegations and led the Wildcats to five straight wins since his return.
"These statements have damaged me, my family, the university, Deandre Ayton and his incredible family," Miller said.
Arizona has won eight of its last nine games, with the only loss coming in overtime to Oregon while without Miller and Allonzo Trier.
4. Trier is a solid No. 2
Like Ayton, Trier has the ability to take over come crunch time. He led the charge in last year's Pac-12 title run, averaging 20.7 points, five rebounds and 3.3 assists while shooting 50 percent from 3-point range. He was named the 2017 Pac-12 Tournament Most Valuable Player.
However, he is coming off a pair of quiet performances against UCLA and USC. Trier scored nine points in each game while shooting a combined 5 for 19 from the field. The junior guard is second on the team in both points (18.4) and assists (3.3) this season.
5. Arizona boasts an efficient offense
The Wildcats are first in the Pac-12 and fourth in the country in field goal percentage (.505). That's largely due to Arizona's big men, as Ayton and Keanu Pinder are each shooting better than 60 percent. The team's main shooters, Trier (51 percent from the field) and Parker Jackson-Cartwright (44 percent), are also efficient.
And Charles Barkley likes the Wildcats. He predicted Arizona will get to the Final Four when he filled in his bracket during the selection show on TBS.