The Arizona Wildcats (7-3) will battle the Baylor Bears (5-3) at 9 p.m. MT on Saturday night in Tucson, in what will be UA’s final non-conference game against a major-conference opponent.
It could hold some major importance come March, and here are some things to watch some things to watch for.
Vegas lists Arizona as 6.5-point favorites, while KenPom projects the Wildcats will win 73-67 with a 70 percent win probability.
Here is how we think the game will play out. Be sure to leave your predictions in the comment section below.
Brian J. Pedersen — Arizona wins 71-65
While Arizona’s 2018-19 team might be a work in progress, Baylor makes the Wildcats look like near-finished product. The Bears are still trying to get all of their expected key contributors up to full speed, with transfers Mario Kegler and Makai Mason only playing a combined seven games so far. Add to the fact that Baylor last played two weeks ago and Arizona is facing a major unknown on Saturday night. This could easily be where the home nonconference win streak comes to an end, particularly if Baylor’s rebounding and shot-blocking makes a difference, but what will save Arizona is that it’s players are more comfortable together and that will pay off down the stretch.
Christopher Boan — Arizona wins 78-70
Look, is Arizona any good this year? Maybe not. Buuut, Baylor is a hot mess of garbage, so I’ll take the Wildcats in a close one. Justin Coleman will be the X-factor. If he can stay out of foul trouble, and continue his clean play (turnover-wise), then Arizona should be able to earn a win and (momentarily) cleanse themselves of their no-good, bad loss to ‘Bama on Sunday.
Ezra Amacher — Arizona wins 72-65
The Wildcats will be rejuvenated to be back on their home court with Finals week in the rear view mirror. Arizona still has too many holes to fill for this one to be the rout it should be, and the win will result as much from Baylor’s errors as anything the Wildcats do correctly. Nonetheless, Arizona should have enough firepower to get by the Bears as long as the guard play stays strong for 40 minutes. Arizona could find itself in trouble if Baylor’s King McClure gets going from three-point range, where he’s shooting 43 percent this year.
Zant Reyez — Arizona wins 67-63
Things would be pretty interesting if UA lost at home to a poor Baylor team. However, I don’t think that’ll be the case. Look, the ‘Cats aren’t going to blow out teams they probably would’ve last season or the one before that: They’re going to have a lot of close games. The talent level isn’t there this season (but wait until next year!), so this will be a close game.
While I’m here, shout out to coach Adia Barnes for having her program off to its best start since 2011. If she keeps this up, we may have to start doing score predictions for their games, too.
Ryan Kelapire — Arizona wins 75-67
Arizona is so tough to beat at home, and I just don’t think Baylor has the offensive firepower to pull it off, unless it crushes the Wildcats on the glass or, as Ezra basically mentioned, has an uncharacteristically hot night from 3.
Then again, I also predicted the UConn and Alabama games incorrectly, so I seem to know nothing about this sport anyway.