Breakdown: Arizona vs. Utah

Arizona will play its first game in Las Vegas on Thursday against Utah. Read on for a complete positional breakdown, score prediction, and more.

Arizona vs. Utah Mar. 13 at 12 pm
TV: Pac-12 Network
MGM Grand


Overall Record 28-3 (.903) 21-10 (.700)
Location Record 2-0 (1.000) on neutral court 1-0 (1.000) on neutral court
Scoring/G: PF&PA(Rank) 73.5 (95) 58.7 (6) 77.2 (40) 64 (40)
Rebound Margin/G: RM(Rank) 8.3 (5) 4.1 (52)
5.8 (214) 6.8 (103)
Assists/G: A(Rank)
15.1 (42) 15.8 (21)
Field-Goal Percentage: FG%(Rank) 46.7 (60) 49.7 (5)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 3FG%(Rank) 35.3 (133) 35.2 (134)
Field-Goal Percentage Against: FG%(Rank) 38.5 (9) 40.8 (51)
Ranking: Coaches' Poll #4 N/A
AP Poll
#4 N/A


1 (.6711) 80 (.5538)
Point Guard

PG: T.J. McConnell (6-1, 195, Jr.) vs. Brandon Taylor (5-10, 165, So.)

McConnell has had some trouble against Utah this season, but Taylor really has not been much better. Defensively, Arizona is in a good position here and McConnell should be able to make sure Taylor is not able to get going offensively. Basically, there is a much better chance of McConnell getting hot from the field or controlling the game than there is of Taylor doing the same.

Shooting Guard

SG: Gabe York ( 6-3, 180, So.) vs. Princeton Onwas (6-5, 202, Jr.)

Utah made a lineup change since the first meeting, taking Dakarai Tucker out and putting Onwas in. He has not done much in either meeting, putting up six points and fouling out in 16 minutes the last time around. York actually had one of the best games of his career in that same game, going for 15 points in a strong first half. Our guess is that Utah is going to make sure York does not come out hitting threes and Onwas really is not a major scoring threat. We will give this one to York based on potential, but it is more likely that neither one goes off.

Small Forward

SF: Nick Johnson (6-3, 200, Jr.) vs. Delon Wright (6-5, 178, Jr.)

We continue to say that Wright is one of the best players in the Pac-12 and a name more people should know nationally. There's a reason for that and it is because he does everything well on both sides of the ball and can give a team fits. Johnson has done very well on him defensively this season and forced him into six turnovers in his worst game of the season in the previous meeting. In addition, Johnson has been able to put together two very solid offensive games. We don't think Johnson has a major advantage here, but both teams need each guy to play well.

Power Forward

PF: Aaron Gordon (6-9, 225, Fr.) vs. Jordan Loveridge (6-6, 210, So.)

What Gordon has been able to do to Loveridge is nothing short of remarkable. The Utes have basically gotten no contribution from him, as he is a combined 5-26 in both games. Gordon fouled out in the last meeting because he picked up a few cheap ones, which is something he can't do in this environment. Gordon's ability to shut down Loveridge has been one of the major advantages that Arizona has had in both of its wins over Utah this season and that is not changing.


C: Kaleb Tarczewski (7-0, 235, So.) vs. Jeremy Olsen (6-10, 232, So.)

Olsen is an aggressive player, especially defensively, which can lead to foul trouble. However, Tarczewski has struggled a bit with that aggressiveness. In the previous meeting, he finished with 8 points and 10 rebounds in 40 minutes. Arizona needs a similar effort from him on Thursday because Utah is extremely strong on the glass. If Tarczewski can neutralize Utah's bigs on the glass, Arizona's chances of winning increase dramatically.


Bench: Arizona's bench was as bad as it has been all season against Oregon. It basically did nothing and really hurt the Wildcats at times. Utah's bench isn't one of the strongest in the country or anything, but it gets the job done. Dallin Bachynski will give the Utes some decent minutes and Kenneth Ogbe can hit from three. Utah has the advantage here, but it is not a big one at all and we can actually see it going either way.

Coaching: Sean Miller vs. Larry Krystkowiak

If Miller is the best coach in the conference, Krystkowiak might be second. Miller acknowledges as such, voting Krystkowiak as the Pac-12 Coach of the Year. We may have an idea of who is going to win the game, but we definitely know that Utah will be well coached. Still, there is a reason why Miller won the award and has Arizona where it is right now.


72 69
Prediction: This is tough. I truly believe it is difficult to beat a good team three times in one season and Utah has so much to gain this week. In addition, the Utes have the size to compete with Arizona and have given the Wildcats two tough games. Still, it is hard to predict a Sean Miller coached team going out of the tournament so quickly. This game is going to be ugly at times, but we feel Arizona will make enough plays near the end to win it.

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