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Utah Utes Game Preview/Open Thread

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Washington looks to recover from a rough road trip

NCAA Basketball: Utah at Colorado Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Essentials

Date: Thursday, 2/15/18

Tip-Off Time: 6:00pm PST

TV: Pac-12 Network

Radio: KOMO 1000

Location: Seattle, Washington

Betting Line: Pick ‘em

Utah 2017-18 Statistics:

Record: 15-9 (7-6)

Points For per Game: 74.4 ppg (134th)

Points Against per Game: 69.2 ppg (85th)

Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 111.8 (70th)

Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 99.7 (73rd)

Strength of Schedule: 49th

Utah Key Players:

To see my descriptions of each Utah starter check out my game preview from the last time these two squared off.

C- Tyler Rawson, Sr. 6’10, 225: 10.6ppg, 6.2rpg, 4.0apg, 45.5% FG, 39.4% 3pt, 80.3% FT

Conference Only Percentages: 50% 2pt, 39% 3pt, 86.4% FT

F- David Collette, Sr. 6’10, 225: 12.6ppg, 4.6rpg, 1.1apg, 60.8% FG, 70.7% FT

Conference Only Percentages: 62.1% 2pt (4th), 63.2% FT

F- Donnie Tillman, Fr. 6’7, 225: 9.2ppg, 5.2rpg, 0.7apg, 47% FG, 86.7% FT, 40% 3pt

Conference Only Percentages: 40.5% 2pt, 36.4% 3pt, 85.1% FT

G- Sedrick Barefield, Jr. 6’2, 190: 11.8ppg, 2.0rpg, 2.6apg, 38.3% FG, 32% 3pt, 88.6% FT

Conference Only Percentages: 46% 2pt, 38.6% 3pt (19th), 87.5% FT (5th)

G- Justin Bibbins, Sr. 5’8, 150: 14.0ppg, 3.2rpg, 4.9apg, 47.7% FG, 45.8% 3pt, 85.5% FT

Conference Only Percentages: 47.7% 2pt, 45.7% 3pt (4th), 87.2% FT (6th)

The Outlook

Going into the first game against Utah I thought this was a bad matchup for Washington. Tyler Rawson is the perfect player to destroy the Huskies from the high post as he’s a big who is both a plus shooter and plus passer. Luckily for UW, he got spooked halfway through the game, lost confidence, and became a non-factor. But it still wasn’t enough for the Dawgs to get back in the game and they fell by 8 points on the road.

The two biggest factors in that game were UW’s 3-point shooting and Utah’s ability to get to the line. The Utes shot 30 free throws to Washington’s 18 and you’d expect that normalize with the game in Seattle. Meanwhile, that game was another example of Washington’s road shooting woes as they went just 2 of 18 from beyond the arc. If that gets to even 33% then the Huskies win that game.

To pull this one off the Dawgs need a big game from Jaylen Nowell. It certainly appears that he may be hitting the freshman wall. He’s first in the conference in both % of possessions used and % of shots taken in conference play. That’s a giant workload for someone not used to playing this many games at this level. After shooting 50% or better from 2-point range in 7 of the first 8 conference games, he’s shot worse than that mark in each of the last 4.

Oregon State scored 1.13 points per possession against Washington last Saturday which is the best output any team has had in conference play against the Husky defense. Did they provide a blueprint for other teams or did they just have a good night? I’m inclined to believe the latter considering that the only reason that game went to overtime is that the Beavers hit 5 consecutive deep three-pointers.

The Utes are 3-6 on the road this season while Washington is 4-1 at home in conference play. Both teams need this game to keep their hopes at an NCAA tournament berth alive. I really think this is essentially a coin flip and despite me insisting that tails never fails, I feel like it just might come up heads.


Washington Huskies- 73, Utah Utes- 75


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