Saturday NCAA Basketball Picks: Utah vs. Arizona

Jeff Grant

Friday, January 16, 2015 4:32 PM UTC

Friday, Jan. 16, 2015 4:32 PM UTC

Arizona possesses one of the longest home court win streaks in the country, but it’ll be put to the test against underdog Utah Saturday night.

The Wright Stuff
Utah continues to enjoy its highest ranking since the close of the 1998-99 season in occupying the No. 8 spot in national polls, which is important to consider when making your NCAA Basketball pick, as it comes off  a 76-59 victory over Arizona State as 4.5-point road favorites Thursday.

The Utes are led offensively by the play of Delon Wright, as the senior finished with 21 points last time out—not a surprising number due to the fact that he averaged 16.3 points and 6.5 rebounds in his previous four road games.

Wright led the Pac-12 in minutes played a season ago, while also being named part of last year’s All-Defensive Team.

Sports bettors will find that the Utes are 37-15-1 ATS in their last 53 conference affairs.

Check out my Kansas vs. Iowa State Picks & Predictions

Shot Selection
Arizona has struggled to find its rhythm offensively in knocking down just 40 of 100 combined shot attempts in splitting games against the Colorado Buffaloes and Oregon State Beavers, which can’t be ignored when looking over the NCAA basketball odds, but it has managed to connect on 38.7 percent of its tries from beyond the arc at the McKale Center.

The Wildcats don’t need to rely solely on the outside shot in this matchup, as they entered their last game ranking 20th nationally in shooting 54.5 percent from inside the 3-point area.

True freshman Stanley Johnson continues to be the program’s main offensive weapon, as he’s coming off a 22-point performance versus the Buffaloes.

It’s important to point out that the team is 3-7 ATS in its last 10 games versus teams with a winning record.


Charity Work
The Utes definitely want to continue being aggressive offensively in a hostile environment, as they sit behind just nine teams in the country in terms of getting to the free throw line, but one of those squads happens to be tonight’s opponent.

In dropping both of last year’s regular season meetings in this series, Utah had four fewer attempts from the charity stripe, which means that number must swing the other way in hopes of pulling off an upset this time around.


The Wildcats deserve to be laying points in this high-profile affair, as they’ve captured their last 31 home games, including 14 consecutive wins against conference rivals in that situation.

During the Sean Miller era in Tucson, Arizona is 84-11 SU at this venue, but  keep in mind that the road team has grabbed the cash in eight of the last 10 meetings in this series.


I’ve established a handicapper line favoring the Wildcats by five points, which means bettors should back them at a price of 4.5 or lower in the market, while potentially supporting the road underdog at 5.5 or higher.

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