Utah has won seven of its last ten games, including victories over potential NCAA Tournament teams in Arizona State, Colorado and California. Since 1998, Utah has lost nine consecutive games to Arizona, but the Utes have the talent and motivation to put an end to that losing streak this afternoon. “There will be a lot of anticipation for it, and here we are, as we have been in the previous games against them, the underdog,” Utah head coach Larry Krystkowiak said after Wednesday’s victory. “So I like that element. I don’t have nearly the nervous feeling that I maybe had leading into this game, and hopefully our guys are feeling the same thing.”
Utah is averaging 76.8 points per game against teams that would combine to allow 73.0 points per game, thereby making the Utes 3.8 points per game better than average offensively this season. Utah is fifth in the nation in field goal percentage at 49.6% and has won 16 of its 20 games this season by double-digits and ranks eighth nationally in scoring margin (+13.2). Unfortunately, Utah will be facing a very good Arizona defense that is allowing just 58.7 points per game to teams that would combine to average 73.2 points per game. Overall, Arizona possesses a 10.7 points per game advantage defensively over the Utes’ attack.
Utah’s strength remains its defense as the Utes are allowing just 63.9 points per game (40.7% FG; 30.3% 3-PT) to teams that would combine to average 71.0 points per game. Utah also enters the conference tournament in excellent form as the Utes have limited opponents to a mere 61.6 points on 38.4% shooting from the field over their last five games. Meanwhile, Arizona takes the floor with an overrated offense that is averaging 73.6 points per game against teams that would combine to allow 68.8 points per game. Being 4.8 points per game better than average offensively puts the Wildcats at a significant disadvantage against a Utah stop unit that is 7.1 points per game better than average. Specifically, Utah possesses a 2.3 points per game advantage on the defensive end of the floor in today’s contest.
Our experts have been saying for months that Utah is one of the most underrated teams in college basketball. Indeed, the Utes are 21-10 SU and 19-6 ATS this season, including going 13-5 ATS versus conference opponents. Utah is also 14-5 ATS versus teams with a winning record, including 11-1 ATS versus elite opposition owning a win percentage greater than .800. With Utah standing at 13-2 ATS off as win and 13-4 ATS with double revenge, we recommend taking the Utes plus the points in today’s Pac-12 Tournament Quarterfinal game.