Utes and Wildcats Headed in Opposite Directions
The Arizona Wildcats and the Utah Utes meet at the Jon M. Huntsman Center on Thursday night. Arizona is stuck in a five-game losing skid. It is the program’s longest winless streak in 35 years. The Wildcats heads out on the road for a pair of contests in the next four days. Utah has been headed in the opposite direction coming off consecutive road wins.
The Wildcats have been dealing with injuries and the lingering effects of the FBI recruiting investigation. The reeling Wildcats haven’t won since Jan. 19 against Oregon State. That marks the program’s longest drought since former coach Lute Olson‘s debut season in 1983-84. Included in the skid are 23- and 21-point road losses to USC and UCLA, respectively. Toss in a 69-55 home setback Saturday to Washington State and it hurts. Wazzoo currently resides in 11th place in the 12-team conference. The Utes have won six of their last eight games overall. That includes a road sweep of USC (77-70) and UCLA (93-92) last weekend. The wins gave Utah a share of the three-way tie for second place in the Pac-12.
This, That, and a Dart Throw
The Arizona Wildcats are 14-10 overall and 5-6 in the Pac-12. The Wildcats have played the last three games without guard Brandon Williams, who is the team’s second-leading scorer at 13.7 ppg/ He is the assists leader as well at 3.7 apg. Williams is out indefinitely with knee soreness. His absence was especially glaring against Washington State as Arizona shot only 31.1% from the field. They also produced only eight assists. The defense wasn’t much better. They surrendered 31 points, including seven 3-pointers, to Cougars forward Robert Franks. Guard Brandon Randolph (14.1 points) and center Chase Jeter (11.8, team-leading 7.0 rebounds) are the other Wildcats averaging double figures. Jeter just returned to action after missing the L.A. road swing with a back injury. Arizona has dominated Utah, winning four straight and 13 of 14 games since the Utes joined the Pac-12 in 2011.
The Utah Utes are 13-10 overall and 7-4 in the Pac-12. The Utes may still be on a high from Saturday after overcoming a 22-point deficit in the final 12:10 to stun UCLA at the buzzer. Parker Van Dyke hit deep 3-pointer for the victory. Forward Timmy Allen had 22 points to lead four Utah players in double figures. The Utes connected on 14-of-36 3-point attempts and matched their season high with 23 assists on 33 made baskets. Guard Sedrick Barefield (16.3 points), Allen (11.6) and fellow forward Donnie Tillman (10.6) are averaging double digits for Utah. The Utes continue to pace the Pac-12 in overall field-goal percentage at 47.0% and 3-point shooting at 37.7%. Tillman (5.4 boards), Allen (5.0) and 7-footer Jayce Johnson (7.1) all averaging at least five rebounds per game. for Utah owns a 4.3 average rebound margin on the season. The Utes should have the edge on the glass versus Arizona, which sports a minus-0.7 rebound margin in Pac-12 play.
PREDICTION: Utah 76, Arizona 66
Pac-12 Betting Odds & Trends
|Arizona is 0-5 ATS in its last 5 games|
|Arizona is 0-5 SU in its last 5 games|
|Arizona is 2-3-1 ATS in its last 6 games on the road|
|Arizona is 2-4 SU in its last 6 games on the road|
|The total has gone OVER in 5 of Arizona’s last 6 games on the road|
|Arizona is 1-3-1 ATS in its last 5 games when playing Utah|
|Arizona is 16-1 SU in its last 17 games when playing Utah|
|Arizona is 6-2 ATS in its last 8 games when playing on the road against Utah|
|Arizona is 7-1 SU in its last 8 games when playing on the road against Utah|
|Utah is 6-2 ATS in its last 8 games|
|Utah is 6-2 SU in its last 8 games|
|The total has gone OVER in 4 of Utah’s last 5 games|
|Utah is 3-8 ATS in its last 11 games at home|
|Utah is 2-4 SU in its last 6 games at home|
|The total has gone OVER in 5 of Utah’s last 6 games at home|
|Utah is 3-5-1 ATS in its last 9 games when playing Arizona|
|Utah is 1-16 SU in its last 17 games when playing Arizona|
|Utah is 2-6 ATS in its last 8 games when playing at home against Arizona|
|Utah is 1-7 SU in its last 8 games when playing at home against Arizona|
Arizona at Colorado Sunday, February 17
Utah home to Arizona State Saturday, February 16
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