Arizona visits Utah to open Pac-12 play after winning the Maui Invitational last week. Utah is coming off a win after losing in the Fort Myers Tip-Off last week. This should be an interesting matchup to open Pac-12 play with for both teams. Let’s take a look at the odds and make some picks and predictions for this game!
Arizona vs. Utah Odds
Arizona is a 6.5-point road favorite against Utah and is at -285 on the money line. The over/under is also at 154.5. Arizona being favored here makes sense because they’ve looked like one of the best teams in all of college basketball. The over/under also makes sense because Arizona is the best scoring team in the country, and Utah can score too. This spread should stay where it is because of the road factor for Arizona.
Arizona vs. Utah Prediction & Pick
The pick: Arizona -6.5
Arizona might be the hottest team in the country right now. They are statistically the best offensive team in the entire country. They lead college basketball in points per game and total field goal percentage. They are second in college basketball in assists and then are fourth in both fast break points and 3-point field goal percentage. On top of all that, they are sixth in the country in rebounding margin. They might have the best one-two punch of big men in the country in Oumar Ballo and Azuolas Tubelis.
The other players that stand out are clearly Kerr Kriisa at point guard and then Courtney Ramey who transferred in from Texas at shooting guard. This team is lead with their offense and they want to get out and run and go fast up and down the court for tempo. The issue with Arizona is that their defense has been good but not great, and that will get better as the season goes on because that comes down to communication and the team is still relatively newer as compared to last year. The other issue is turnovers. Because Arizona plays so fast, they turn the ball over a lot and that’s something that needs to get fixed as the season goes on. Utah, on the other side, has been decent, but they lost to the best team they’ve played so far, Mississippi State.
The Utes haven’t been tested a ton so far, and this will be their best test yet. Their best player is their center, Branden Carlson. He leads them in points per game, field goal percentage, rebounds a game, and blocks a game. However, as a team, they don’t excel a ton in any particular stat, but are just solid across the board. Arizona might be in for a dog fight for part of the game, but they should pull away even with a hostile crowd in Salt Lake City.
Arizona vs. Utah Key Matchups
Can Rollie Worster go head-to-head against Kerr Kriisa? Can Branden Carlson do anything against Arizona’s big men?
Kerr Kriisa vs Rollie Worster
Kerr Kriisa’s stepped up his play a ton from last year to this year. He’s averaging 15 points, 7.5 assists, 4 rebounds, and he is shooting 51% from 3-point range and 53% from the field overall. Kriisa isn’t the best player on Arizona, but is the most important because he’s the point guard. Rollie Worster has been good for Utah too this year and is averaging 9 points, 5 assists, and 5 rebounds a game, while also averaging 35% from 3-point range and 50% from the field overall. This matchup has the makings of a dog fight and should play a huge role in deciding who wins this game.
Branden Carlson vs the Arizona Big Men
Branden Carlson has been playing very well for Utah. He averages 13 points, 2 assists, and 8 assists so far this year, while also shooting 50.7% from the field overall. He’s been doing it all for Utah this year, but this will be the toughest matchup he’s had yet. Arizona has the best one-two punch of big men in Oumar Ballo and Azuolas Tubelis. Both average 19 points a game, and Ballo averages 10 rebounds compared to Tubelis averaging 8 rebounds a game. Ballo also averages 77% from the field, while Tubelis averages 72% from the field. Carlson is going to have to do a lot in this game for Utah to have any chance of winning here.