The Arizona Wildcats will go for their sixth straight win Saturday when they host the Utah Utes at 3:30 p.m. MST on FOX.
Arizona (17-4, 7-1 Pac-12) is coming off an 80-71 win over Colorado. Utah (13-7, 5-4) enters off an impressive road win over Arizona State.
Arizona beat Utah 94-82 in Salt Lake City earlier in the month.
KenPom gives Arizona an 89 percent chance of winning Saturday’s rematch, with a projected score of 78-69. ESPN lists the Wildcats as 8.5-point favorites.
Here is what we think will happen. Be sure to leave your predictions in the comment section below.
Ryan Kelapire — Arizona wins 83-72
The first game between these two teams was sorta strange, as Arizona led by as many as 17 points before Utah was able to tie it up with roughly five minutes to play.
Then Arizona’s offense exploded and it wound up winning by 12.
The key for the Wildcats will be limiting Utah’s backcourt which killed them the first time. Point guard Justin Bibbins had 14 points and eight assists, while his running mate Sedrick Barefield had 23 points and six assists.
But those two are going to need to have even bigger games for Utah to beat Arizona in McKale which is obviously highly unlikely — even with Rawle Alkins likely out.
I just don’t think Arizona is losing a home game this season.
Christopher Boan — Arizona wins 78-67
Utah is a dump truck load of ugly this season on both sides of the ball, ranking 71st overall in KenPom—thanks to a tempo that ranks 251st in the country. They beat the school up north, in a game that made me split my sides laughing, but still are a shadow of their former selves—when Kyle Kuzma and Jakob Poeltl threw it down in the SLC.
Justin Bibbins and David Collette are legit, averaging 14.3 and 12.5 points per game, but they have no one on their entire roster taller than 6-foot-11—which poses trouble when facing the Badass Bahaman, Deandre Ayton.
Expect Arizona to look ugly in the first half (as always), with Allonzo Trier sputtering out of the gate, before catching fire and slaying the hearts of the Utes for a season sweep.
Matt Sheeley — Arizona wins, 88-80
Arizona fans should be a little more worried about this one than they are.
The Wildcats are fresh off a game where they gave up 50 percent 3-point shooting to Colorado and now must play Utah who are doing their best college impression of the Houston Rockets as of late. The Utes have launched 30 3-pointers per game in their last three games, all wins.
Ultimately though, Arizona’s size should be too much on Saturday afternoon. Utah will need to sink most of their 3-point attempts on the first try because they won’t have many second opportunities.
The Wildcats pounded Utah with their size advantage back on Jan. 4 with a 46-23 rebound advantage and the Utes simply will have no answers for Deandre Ayton and Dusan Ristic.
Jason Bartel — Arizona wins 74-69
I like Utah a little bit more than Colorado this weekend, but just a little bit more. Nothing has changed enough to where I would pick a team coming into McKale to win.
I’ve thought consistently that Arizona would find itself and start blowing these lowly teams out at home, but it hasn’t done that yet. So I’m now in a place where I’ll pick them to win close at McKale until they start to prove me wrong. But a win’s a win and no one wants an OT loss at home to fall to 10th place in the conference.
Alec Sills-Trausch — Arizona wins 71-62
We’re still unsure about Rawle’s status so I’m assuming he won’t play because these games don’t matter in the grand scheme of things.
Utah, hot off their win over ASU, won’t have much left in the tank but this game will be slower than usual. The offense is still a concern for Arizona, but we all saw what they can do when they start rolling. ‘Cats get another sweep.