Breakdown: Arizona vs. Utah

Arizona faces its toughest test of the season when Utah comes to town. Read on for statistics, a positional breakdown, and a score prediction.


Utah at Arizona
Jan.17 at 5 pm
TV: Pac-12 Network
McKale Center

ARIZONA

UTAH
Overall Record
15-2 (.882)
14-2 (.875)
Location Record
10-0 (1.000) at home
2-2 (.500) on the road
Scoring/G: PF&PA(Rank)
75.1 (37)
59.6 (36)
75.8 (32)
55.3 (10)
Rebound Margin/G: RM (Rank)
6.5 (31)
8.7 (13)
Steals/G:
S (Rank)
7.9 (50)
6.9 (127)
Assists/G: A(Rank)
14.4 (87)
14.9 (56)
Field-Goal Percentage: FG%(Rank)
49.3 (14)
50.3 (6)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 3FG%(Rank)
36.1 (99)
40.5 (14)
Field-Goal Percentage Against: FG%(Rank)
39.3 (62)
36.6 (10)
Ranking:
Coaches' Poll
#9
#8
Ranking:
AP Poll
#10
#8
Ranking: KenPom
9 (.9266)
5 (.9481)
RPI
10 (.6481)
11 (.6479)
Point Guard

ADVANTAGE: Arizona
PG: PG: T.J. McConnell (6-1, 195, Sr.) vs. Brandon Taylor (5-10, 167, Jr.)

Taylor does exactly what Utah wants and needs him to do. His scoring has come on as of late, but Utah really does not need it. Taylor only has 21 turnovers and is easily having the best season of his career. McConnell is probably a little better offensively and defensively, which gives Arizona the advantage here. However, should Taylor hit some early shots, the Wildcats could be in trouble.
Shooting Guard

ADVANTAGE: Arizona
SG: Stanley Johnson (6-7, 245, Fr.) vs. Chris Reyes (6-7, 230, So.)

Obviously Reyes is not a shooting guard, but this makes the most sense from a defensive perspective. Johnson guarding Reyes is the best matchup for him and when Utah goes to Dakarai Tucker, he can guard him as well. Johnson has no choice but to put together a good game here. If he doesn’t, it is hard to see Arizona winning this game. Utah should have some difficulty guarding Johnson if he plays like he did against Colorado and frankly he is going to have to.
Small Forward

ADVANTAGE: Utah
SF: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (6-7, 220, So.) vs. Delon Wright (6-5, 190, Sr.)

This is the type of game where Hollis-Jefferson is going to have to play 40 minutes or at least close to it. He is probably the only guy on the roster that you trust guarding Wright, who is the most important player on Utah. As good of a player as Hollis-Jefferson is, Wright has probably been the best in the conference this season. He is averaging 15 points, 4.5 rebounds, and nearly six assists per outing while shooting 55 percent from the field. It is imperative that Hollis-Jefferson keeps Wright out of the lane and forces him to be more of a shooter.
Power Forward

ADVANTAGE: Even
PF: Brandon Ashley (6-9, 230, Jr.) vs. Jordan Loveridge (6-6, 22, Jr.)

Ashley is going to have his hands full on Saturday. Loveridge’s numbers are not as good as last season, but part of that is because of injury and another is because Utah has other players getting rebounds. If Ashley can get 11 boards like he did on Thursday, Arizona is much better for it. The difficulty here is keeping Loveridge in front of him and being able to close out. So far on the season, Loveridge has made nearly 50 percent of his shots behind the arc. He will likely try to draw Ashley out, so keeping Loveridge in front will be important and easier said than done.
Center

ADVANTAGE: Utah
C: Kaleb Tarczewski (7-0, 245, Jr.) vs. Jakob Poeltl (7-0, 235, Fr.)

One game without a rebound might be excusable if it was followed up by a strong game on the glass, but it wasn’t. Tarczewski has disappeared in that category whereas Poeltl has at least four rebounds in every game and seven in which he has reached double digits. In fact, Poeltl is a fringe top ten pick in next year’s draft because of his potential. Tarczewski can’t get pushed around on Saturday and needs to establish himself early. The offense that we saw on Thursday is nice, but it does not erase the concern with his rebounding.
Bench

ADVANTAGE: Utah
Bench: Dakarai Tucker will get plenty of minutes off the bench. He is a decent shooter, but is a better defender and does just fine as a role player that sometimes gets extended minutes. Isaiah Wright will handle the point and is not really a scoring threat, but can run the offense well. The real danger is freshman Brekkott Chapman, who is averaging seven points and three rebounds in 17 minutes per game. Gabe York is expected to be back for Arizona, and although Utah’s bench may not necessarily be deeper, it is more consistent than Arizona’s.
Coaching

ADVANTAGE: Even
Coaching: Sean Miller vs. Larry Krystkowiak

These are the two best coaches in the conference and it may not be very close. What Krystkowiak has done at Utah is remarkable and there aren’t many better coaches in the country. This team has talent in its starting five, but you can make an argument he has done more with less. We really doubt this game will come down to coaching, but it will be fun to see what each team throws at the other.

Outcome

ADVANTAGE: Arizona
68
66
Prediction: Arizona has a difficult matchup here. It needs to find a way to be able to guard Jordan Loveridge and Hollis-Jefferson just can’t get into foul trouble. Utah is a very smart team that is doing everything well and is now completely healthy. The Utes will take advantage of any Arizona mistakes and the Wildcats have to hit the glass harder than they have been. I honestly don’t have a basis for picking Arizona. I think the Wildcats play to the level of their opponents and home court is the difference, but this is a toss up.

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