#7 Arizona Wildcats at #13 Utah Utes
Jon M. Huntsman Center – Salt Lake City, Utah
Saturday, February 28, 2015, 9:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: Utah -2
Current Line: Utah -1 1/2
Opening Total: 124 1/2
Current Total: 125 1/2
Opening Money Line: Utah -125 / Arizona +105
Current Money Line: Utah -130 / Arizona +110
The 25-3 Arizona Wildcats and 22-5 Utah Utes have been the class of the Pac 12 this season. The two teams meet Saturday in Salt Lake City with first place in the conference on the line. Arizona leads the Pac 12 at 13-2 and Utah is a game behind at 12-3. Every other team in the conference has at least 5 conference losses. An Arizona win Saturday would wrap up the regular season title as they would have a two game lead with two games left to play. Arizona won earlier this season in Tucson 69-51 January 17.
Arizona leads the series 29-28 against Utah, but the Utes are 19-9 in Salt lake City. Arizona has won 11 straight games against their northern border rivals.
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Arizona is coached by Sean Miller. The Wildcats have road losses at UNLV, Oregon State and Arizona State. The Wildcats have won 11 of the last 12 games including 5 straight. Arizona has home wins over CS-Northridge, UC-Irvine, Gonzaga, Michigan, Oakland, Arizona State, Colorado, Utah, Oregon, Oregon State, USC, and UCLA. The Wildcats also have neutral sight wins over Missouri, Kansas State and San Diego State in the Maui Invitational, and road wins over UTEP, Oregon, Stanford, California, Washington, Washington State and Colorado 82-54 Thursday. Arizona is 17-11 ATS and the total is 13-15 this season. The Wildcats were 9 point favorites against Colorado and the total was 131.5.
Utah is coached by Larry Krystkowiak. The Utes have road losses at San Diego State, Arizona, UCLA, and Oregon, plus a neutral site loss to Kansas in Kansas City. Utah has won 6 of their last 7 games. The Utes have home wins over Ball State, UC-Riverside, Wichita State, South Dakota State, USC, UCLA, Colorado, Washington State, Washington, Stanford, California and Arizona State 83-41 Thursday. Utah has road wins over BYU, Arizona State, USC, Colorado and Oregon State, and a technically neutral site win over UNLV in Las Vegas. The Utes are 18-7-1 ATS and the total is 12-12-1 this season. Utah was a 12 point favorite against Arizona State and the total was 130.
Arizona is outscoring teams 76-59 this season. The Wildcats are #27 in scoring and #21 in points allowed nationally. Arizona is shooting 49.3% from the field and 36% from 3 point range. The Wildcats are #8 in field goal percentage nationally. Arizona makes 68.8% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 40.2% from the field and 33.1% from 3 point range. Arizona averages 35.7 rebounds per game and opponents average 25 per game. The Wildcats are #2 nationally in rebounds allowed. Arizona averages 13.7 assists, 11.7 turnovers, 7.3 steals and 3.3 blocks per game. Opponents average 10 assists, 14.7 turnovers, 5.1 steals and 2.2 blocks per game.
Forward Stanley Johnson averages 14.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.5 steals per game. Brandon Ashley averages 11.4 points and 5.3 rebounds. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson averages 11 points, 6.4 rebounds 1.6 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.1 blocks per game. T.J. McConnell averages 9.7 points, 3.9 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 2.1 steals per game. Kaleb Tarczewski averages 8.3 points and 5 rebounds per game. Gabe York averages 8.7 points, 1.5 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game. Guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright is questionable with a concussion. Guard Trey Mason is out indefinitely with a knee injury.
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Utah is outscoring teams 74-56 this season. The Utes are #37 in scoring and #10 in points allowed nationally. Utah is shooting 49.7% from the field and 40.8% from 3 point range. The Utes are in the top eight nationally in both categories. Utah makes 69.4% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 37.9% from the field and 32.2% from 3 point range. The Utes are #11 nationally in field goal defense. Utah averages 35.5 rebounds per game and opponents average 26.6 per game. Utah is #17 nationally in rebounds allowed. The Utes average 15 assists, 11.4 turnovers, 6.5 steals and 4.9 blocks per game. Opponents average 9.1 assists, 12.5 turnovers, 5.8 steals and 3.5 blocks per game.
Guard Delon Wright averages 14.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, 5.4 assists, and 2.3 steals per game. Jordan Loveridge averages 10.3 points and 3.9 rebounds per game. Brandon Taylor averages 10.9 points, 2.5 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.3 steals per game. Jakob Poeltl averages 9.2 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game. Dakarai Tucker averages 8 points and 2.2 rebounds per game. Brekkott Chapman averages 6.8 points and 2.5 rebounds. Four other players average at least 12 minutes per game in the rotation.
Arizona is 6-1 ATS against teams with winning records, 5-1 in road games and against teams with winning home records, 9-2 overall and in Pac 12 games, 8-2 after a straight up win, 6-2 after a cover, and 5-2 after a straight up win of 20 points or more. The road team is 8-3 ATS in this series recently. Arizona has covered 4 of the last 5 trips to Salt Lake City.
Utah is 10-2 ATS after allowing less than 50 points, 21-5 in Saturday games, 38-12-1 at home, 35-13-3 after a straight up win, 41-16-2 overall, 44-19-1 against Pac 12 teams, 41-18-1 after a cover, 49-22-3 against teams with winning records, and 33-15-4 after a straight up win of 20 points or more. While the under is 3-0-1 overall in the last 4 games in the series, the over is 3-0-1 in the last 4 games in Salt Lake City in the series.
Arizona has dominated this series recently winning 11 straight games. However, Utah has won 18 straight games at home. This will be a closer game than the earlier meeting in Tucson, but Arizona is simply better.