Utes are a perfect 16-0 at Jon M. Huntsman Center and have beaten opponents by an average of 26 points. Can the Wildcats send a message as we draw nearer to the Pac-12 Conference Tournament?
Tip-off is scheduled for tonight at 9:00 pm ET at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City Utah.This game can be seen on the ESPN Network. You just have to give the Utes the nod at home and NCAA basketball betting odds lists Utah as a slight 1.5 point betting favorite and the total for the game is 126.
Bench Assistance is Necessary
After a tough, low scoring defeat of the UCLA Bruins, the Wildcats went back to beating up respective opponents as they defeated the Colorado Buffaloes 82-54 in their most recent game.
It was just the kind of tune up that the Wildcats needed for a game like today. Gabe York came off of the bench to nail 4 of 5 3-pointers for 14 points and 5 rebounds in just 23 minutes of play.
Both Arizona and Utah excel defensively and someone will need to step up and make the difference like York did in the Colorado game. This is the 2nd game in which York played above his seasonal averages. He also showed that he can compete against a team the caliber UCLA in which he was 3 for 5 from beyond the arc for 13 points in under 30 minutes of play.
Bench play can make the difference in a game, but Arizona feeds off of their starters in Stanley Johnson, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, and Brandon Ashley. There's no 20 point per game scorer in the bunch, but they all are solid rebounders, can play big time defense, and score necessary baskets during crucial parts of the game.
Don't expect a lot of points in this game, but it should go down to the wire and free throw shooting could make the difference. I expect Arizona to play well here. Although no team has been able to compete with Utah at the Huntsman Center, Arizona is battle-tested and this is the perfect warm up game before the games really start to count in the post-season.
In their last game at home, Utah doubled the score of their opponent in an 83-41 blowout of the Arizona State Sun Devils. Although Arizona State isn't a top team in the conference, the Sun Devils are a legitimate .500 team that can beat any team on any given day and it just shows how effective that Utah is at home.
Although there are also no 20 point scorers on Utah's roster, senior Delon Wright, provides invaluable experience and is a major difference maker on this club. Wright can fill up a stat sheet as he averages 14.2 points, 5.3 assists, and 4.6 rebounds per game. He's a point guard with nice length that excels on the defensive end of the court. Wright is also averaging 2.3 steals per game and is not one to commit costly turnovers.
In his last game, he saw limited action due to the blowout of Arizona State, but in the 4 games previous to that, he averaged 15 points, 4 assists, 4.8 rebounds, and 2.8 steals per game. Wright is a complete basketball player and if this game is tight in the final minutes, expect to see the basketball in his hands as he's a 82.3% free throw shooter.
Wright will need some assistance as both Brandon Taylor (10.5 ppg, 44.4% from 3-point range), and Jordan Loveridge (9.9 ppg.,44.2% from 3-point range) have been quite ineffective on the offensive end lately and in order to beat Arizona, someone other than Wright will need to put up some points.
I'm going to stay away from the side as Utah has been unbeatable at home, but their offense scares me. Look for a very low scoring, tight game between two of the best defensive teams in the country and play the total for this free college basketball pick.
NCAA BAsketball Pick: Arizona/Utah Under 126 at 5 Dimes