Arizona vs Washington State: Betting Odds, Picks, and Predictions (2/10/22)

Arizona vs Washington State Betting Odds

Arizona – one of the best teams in the nation – will take its talents to Pullman looking to extend a five-game win streak.

The Wildcats will see a stiff test with Wazzu. The Cougars are first in the Pac-12 in conference-only defensive efficiency and have snuck into the KenPom top-30. If you’re an avid bubble watcher, you know all about Washington State.

A win over Arizona would do wonders for Wazzu’s at-large resume – especially considering the team is 0-2 in Quad 1 opportunities.

Arizona doesn’t need this win badly but wants to remain on the one-seed line.

The Wildcats will likely get in-and-out of eastern Washington with a win, but can they cover a six-point spread?

Arizona Wildcats Odds

Arizona’s recent sweep of UCLA and USC means a lot. The Wildcats are now in sole possession of first place in the Pac-12 at 10-1, with every other team at least two games behind.

Tommy Lloyd deserves National Coach of the Year attention.

The former Gonzaga assistant has the Wildcats playing like the Bulldogs. Arizona plays super-fast (fifth nationally in tempo) despite being incredibly lengthy (second nationally in average height). But as a result of their length and athleticism, the Wildcats are ruthlessly efficient on the interior, ranking ninth in 2-point shooting (56.9%) and first in 2-point defense (39.7%).

The Wildcats also share the ball exquisitely. With point guard Kerr Kriisa leading the way, three Arizona players are nationally ranked in assist rate, and the team collectively is second nationally in that stat.

Every bucket comes off a pass.

Four players are averaging double-digits scoring this season, but Benedict Mathurin leads the way with 16.5 points per game. Mathurin is an athletic wing who will slash but also shoot well from 3 (35.5% on 5.6 attempts per game).

And watch out for him on the defensive end:

Washington State Cougars Odds

I’m really impressed with the Cougars this season.

The team is now top-20 in both defensive efficiency and effective field goal percentage allowed. You would think Wazzu is due for negative shooting regression on that end, considering opponents are shooting less than 30% from 3 against it, but ShotQuality’s metrics actually project positive regression for the club.

The team is frisky defensively. In Pac-12 play, the Cougars are second in defensive turnover rate and first in block rate.

Efe Abogidi is the anchor of the defense. His 9.3% block rate is top-40 among Division-I basketball players and he’s posted a whopping 127.7 ORtg on the other end – although in limited opportunities.

Instead, the backcourt of Michael Flowers and Tyrell Roberts carry the scoring, combining for nearly 25 points per game. Flowers is lights-out spotting-up, as he’s shooting nearly 40% from 3 this season.

Noah Williams is the team’s highest-usage player but has had trouble with his efficiency. A 36.7 eFG% is one of the worst I’ve seen, as he’s shooting less than 40% from inside the arc and has made only 10 of his 50 shots from deep.

But Williams has also managed to rack up 2.5 assists per game, sharing the ball at a decent rate.

If Williams could start scoring at a more efficient clip, it might transform the Wazzu program into a legitimate Pac-12 contender.

Arizona vs Washington State Prediction and Pick

My pick: Washington State +6.5 (-110 at BetMGM)

I can’t help but bet this home dog.

Arizona is coming off a killer stretch of games and its market value could be slightly inflated. It’ll be running into a Cougar team that will challenge everything on the interior while slowing down the game considerably (252nd in tempo).

If Wazzu can control the pace – specifically in transition – Arizona might have a tough time pulling away in Pullman.

I like the Cougars’ chances. Washington State is top-100 in limiting transition opportunities (21.4%) and top-50 in transition points per possession allowed (.90).

I’m expecting more of a Rock Fight than a Formula 1 race, and that plays to Wazzu’s advantage. Tack on six points and a home court, and I’ll be betting the Cougars Thursday night.

Tanner joined Lineups to cover everything, but he has vast experience in, and unlimited passion for, Major League Baseball and NCAA Basketball. He’s a McGill University grad and former (Canadian) Division-I alpine ski racer who now spends his time drinking beer and betting home underdogs. Patrick Mahomes is a poor man’s Tom Brady.

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