The Arizona Wildcats kicked off conference play with a bang, sweeping the Bay Area road trip. A close win over the California Golden Bears and a straight up blowout of the Stanford Cardinal have left Arizona sitting pretty at 2-0 in Pac-12 play.
Next up — the Wildcats (13-2, 2-0 Pac-12) are back at McKale Center to take on the Utah Utes (10-3, 1-0 Pac 12).
Arizona has won seven in a row and in two of their last three, they won by 30+. The Wildcats offense peaked with a magnificent performance against Stanford this past Sunday.
They shot 62% from the field, knocking down 10 of their 14 three point attempts and were stellar from the line, hitting 21 of 23 free throws.
For all you stat nerds out there, that’s a true shooting percentage of 78%. That’s outrageous.
Rawle Alkins and Dusan Ristic continued the excellent play we’ve seen of late as Alkins finished with 19 points and seven rebounds, his ninth straight game with double-digit points.
Ristic was very efficient from the field, finishing with 16 points on 7-10 from the floor.
Speaking of efficiency, Lauri Markkanen only got up four shots on Sunday. But he somehow managed to turn that four shot output into 15 points on a day where everything went right for Arizona.
If the Wildcats can shoot like that, they might be just fine on Thursday night.
The Utah Utes are coming off an impressive victory over their rival, the Colorado Buffaloes, 76-60, to open Pac-12 play.
Utah has been a different team as of late as they added two key transfers just five games ago.
Since arriving, forward David Collette and guard Sedrick Barefield have combined to score nearly 30 points per game on 58% from the field. They combined for 23 in the victory over the Buffs.
Senior guard Lorenzo Bonam and junior Kyle Kuzma are two Utes that Arizona fans are accustomed to seeing as they have been apart of many Arizona-Utah nail-biters. Kuzma is nearly averaging a double-double with 14.4 points and 9.8 rebounds per game. They’ll look to deliver the Utes their first win in McKale Center since joining the Pac-12 in the 2011-12 season.
In their last meeting, on February 27th, Utah finally defeated Arizona in Salt Lake City, ending the Wildcats’ 12-game winning streak over the Utes. Arizona will look to start a new streak on Thursday. This will be their only meeting this regular season.
How to watch:
Time: 8 p.m. MST
TV: Fox Sports One
Live stream: Fox Sports Go
Announcers: Aaron Goldsmith and Bill Raftery