Utah (14-5, 3-3) at Washington (13-5, 5-1)
When: Sunday, January 24th 2016
Where: Alaska Airlines Arena, Seattle, WA
Time: 8:30 ET | TV: ESPNU
The Washington Huskies look to continue their surprising season when they host the Utah Utes on Sunday night. Washington has already equaled last year’s conference win total at five and are a half a game ahead of Oregon in the Pac-12 standings. They are not a particularly good shooting team (42.2%), but the Huskies are 4th in the country in rebounds per game (42.9) despite their lack of size. Washington guard Andrew Andrews, the Pac-12 scoring leader, is coming off a 33-point effort in a 95-83 win over Colorado on Wednesday night, when the Huskies also set a school record with 15 blocked shots. Andrews not only leads the team in scoring (22.0), but he’s also the Huskies’ top rebounder (6.3) and assist man (4.9). Wednesday was the fifth time this season Andrews has eclipsed 30 points. He’s also shooting 41 percent from 3-point range after finishing below 30 percent his first two seasons at the school. Freshman Dejounte Murray contributed 17 points, 5 boards, and 4 assists in the win over Colorado and has hit 10 of his last 16 three-point attempts covering five games. The defense gives up a lot of points (78.8) and is ranked 314th in the nation in that category. The Huskies face a tough test next week when they visit the two Los Angeles schools (USC, UCLA).
The Utes have evened their Pac-12 record at 3-3 after losing three of their first four conference games. Utah is coming off an impressive 92-71 win at Washington State on Thursday in which they shot 55.1% from the floor and 11-of-22 from beyond the arc. Jordan Loveridge (22 points) and Brandon Taylor were a combined 10-for-16 from three-point range. Jakob Poeltl should dominate the boards on Sunday as the 7-foot center will have a nice size advantage down low. Poeltl leads the team in scoring (16.2) and rebounds (8.9) but has been held below double-digit rebounds in the last three games – that should change tonight. Utah needs a win tonight to keep pace in the conference race and they’ll have two winnable games next week at home against California and Stanford. The Utes resume this season includes wins over San Diego State, Duke, and BYU, but there were also blown-out by Wichita State and Miami FL.
I think Utah’s size will be too much for the Huskies tonight. Washington is a little overrated right now. Remember, they lost by 32 points at Arizona this season – a team with size.
Pick: Utah -2