College Basketball Pick
Arizona has been a shoe-in for the NCAA Tournament in recent years and has often received a top seed. However, that may not be the case this season for the Wildcats, as they already have Four Pac-12 losses and still don’t have a really impressive win. A road win at Washington would look good, but still not the high caliber that Arizona is looking for.
The same can be said about Washington for the most part, outside of some bad non-Conference losses to Oakland and UCSB. They actually lost that Game to Oakland by 14 points at home, which is unacceptable for a team hoping to reach the major postseason Tournament. Still, the Huskies have some big wins in Conference play over UCLA (twice) and USC, but can’t be content with where they are at right now.
Arizona doesn’t have those same bad losses, but with a fairly easy non-Conference slate, the Wildcats aren’t getting much respect overall. Their lone good win came at Gonzaga, and they haven’t looked like the same team in the Pac-12. Their three road losses came by a total six points and that’s mostly due to not having a top guy to close Games.
Despite a 99-67 win the first time these teams played, this Game should be a lot closer as Arizona rarely reaches the same levels on the road as at home. The Wildcats were almost flawless offensively in that first Game, shooting 60.3% from the field and 9-of-15 from three. All five of their starters reached double digits as well, and the guys on the bench even contributed. While that probably won’t happen again, it’s looking like ‘Zona’s second-leading scorer, Allonzo Trier will be back (Game-time decision) after missing the previous seven Games.
Trier may not be ready to drop 20-plus points in his first Game back, but he not only adds another scorer to Arizona’s roster, but also gives them some depth once again. Considering what happened last time these two played, it’s hard to see how Washington will compete with Trier back on the floor.
The main issue for the Huskies in that first Game was leading scorers Andrew Andrews (21.0 ppg) and Dejounte Murray (14.6 ppg) only combined for 17 points on 6-of-23 shooting. While they also combined for 16 assists, shooting that poorly is always going to be a problem on the road. Neither of them shoot above 40% on the season so it wasn’t a one-time thing, but when they both struggle, it’s difficult for this squad to beat halfway decent teams. For Washington to beat Arizona, Murray and Andrews will both need to have big Games. Banking on that to happen probably isn’t the best route to take.
Both frontcOurts had decent success in the paint last Game, but the real difference maker for Arizona was a 43-26 rebound edge. They both had the same amount of offensive rebounds (9), but that number meant a lot more for the Wildcats as they only missed 23 shots, while the Huskies missed 39.
The Huskies will put up a fight, and to win this Game, they’re hoping Arizona comes out rusty with Trier back in the lineup. The Wildcats played more team ball with Trier out of the lineup, as Mark Tollefsen (who took his spot), is a much different player. Trier will take shots from Ryan Anderson and Gabe York and that could change some dynamics.
But if you’re taking Washington, that’s a big stretch to hope for. Arizona may not be great on the road, but their advantages at each position are too much for Washington to overcome.
Predicted Score- Arizona 87 Washington 84