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Utah

vs.

Arizona

Hoops Pick

1/26/14

Can anyone in the Pac-12 take down Arizona? That remains to be seen, but as of now, it's unlikely someone is going to beat the Wildcats on their home court, who are currently 19-0 overall.

Utah is 14-5 and a team on the bubble. The one thing about the Utes is that they cannot win on the road. They have lost in all four of their true road games this year, although by a total margin of 11 points. While that margin is nice, having losses to a team like Washington State, no matter where the game is, doesn't do a whole lot for their résumé.

As for 'Zona, they beat the Cougars with a ridiculous 60-25 score line. The Wildcats didn't cover in their game on Thursday night after Colorado hit a couple late threes, but they still won by 12 points and are 13-5 ATS for the season. On the other end, the Utes actually have a better ATS record at 11-2-1. No matter the spread, it seems like Utah keeps the score close, and in this game, the backdoor cover is definitely a possibility.
Utah isn't the deepest or biggest team, which will present immediate problems in this matchup. Normal starting center Renan Lenz is dealing with a sprained ankle and has missed three straight games. If he can't go in this one, the 7-footer Dallin Bachynski will have a tall task. And even if Lenz can play, dealing with some of the best big men in the country won't be easy.


The Utes rely on two players, forward Jordan Loveridge (16.7 PPG, 8.1 RPG) and point guard Delon Wright (15.9 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 5.1 APG) for just about everything. Loveridge can beat you from distance or can take his defender to the rack. He'll likely draw a matchup with Brandon Ashley or Aaron Gordon, both of whom are taller and quite athletic. Wright is a tough matchup due to his size (6-5), and that may be where Utah has its main advantage in this game. Shooting guard Brandon Taylor (10.5 PPG) also needs to play a role for Utah to compete.


When Arizona has the ball, matching up with them will not be easy at all for Utah. Ashley and Gordon are two guys that can beat you in the paint, but also have a respectable jump shot. Kaleb Tarczewski at 7-foot, should have no problems dealing with Bachynski. He already dealt with Bachynski's brother just fine at Arizona State last weekend. The Wildcats have just as good of back court with Nick Johnson (16.4 PPG) and T.J. McConnell (6.1 APG). When you throw in bench options like Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Gabe York, it doesn't get any easier for Utah.

Whereas Utah relies on two guys every game to drive the offense, Arizona has at least five players that can lead in scoring every night. With so many options, the Utes will have a hard time staying tight defensively, especially if Lenz can't play.


Utah doesn't have a road win yet this year, and that will be the case after this game.

Our Model's Prediction - Arizona 89 Utah 50

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