We’re past the midway point of conference play now, which means the Arizona Wildcats will start making their second way around the Pac-12.
First up is a trip to the Rocky Mountains, starting with a Thursday night showdown against the Utah Utes.
Arizona (14-10, 5-6) and Utah (13-10, 7-4) are trending in opposite directions. The Wildcats have lost five straight for the first time since 1984, while the Utes are coming off a road sweep of USC and UCLA.
The Wildcats beat Utah in overtime in Tucson back in January, but KenPom gives the Utes a 56 percent chance of winning the rematch, with a projected score of 72-70.
Here is what we think will happen. Be sure to leave your predictions in the comment section below.
Brian J. Pedersen — Utah wins 71-69
Arizona is 13-1 against Utah since the Utes joined the Pac-12 in 2011, the only loss coming in Salt Lake City three years ago. If the Wildcats were sending that team on the road tonight there might be some confidence they could end this losing streak, but instead it’s going to be that depleted group that can’t shoot and isn’t capable of defending without fouling. Utah has been one of the biggest surprises of the league, sweeping its last two road series but going just 2-3 at home. Sedrick Barefield is still on the roster, so expect him to go off again like he did in Tucson last month. Arizona finds a way to cover but still lose.
Zant Reyez — Utah wins 79-65
Arizona is going to lose again. This team is free falling, and the scores don’t matter nearly enough at this point compared to what’s happening off the court.
Christopher Boan — Utah wins 81-68
Arizona has won 13 out of 14 contests against Utah, since the Utes joined the Pac-12 in 2012, but things have changed. The Wildcats were fortunate enough to escape with a win against Utah earlier this year, when Larry K’s squad botched an end-game sequence so badly it hurt. I don’t see how this version of the Wildcats can go into the SLC and beat Sedrick Barefield and the Utes, so I’ll go with Utah to win by double-digits. The Wildcats’ losing streak would hit six games, should this prognosis prove prescient, which would be their longest in three decades, so get our your sadness pillows and a bottle of whiskey to get you through these trying times.
Ronnie Stoffle — Utah wins 85-68
Arizona was lucky to beat Utah at home with Brandon Williams. Simply put, the Wildcats don’t have much of a chance for the rematch in Salt Lake City. The losing streak will extend to six games.
Ryan Kelapire — Utah wins 75-69
The first game between these teams was a shootout that went down to the wire, but I don’t see Arizona having the same type of night offensively in Salt Lake City, so I give the edge to the Utes.
Is there anything about this Arizona team that inspires confidence that it can beat a decent team on the road right now?