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Utah Game Preview & How to Watch

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Washington looks to stay perfect in Pac-12 play at Hec Ed against the Utes

NCAA Basketball: Washington at Utah Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

How to Watch (and bet)

Date: Saturday, 1/29/21

Tip-Off Time: 2:00 pm PT

TV: Pac-12 Networks

Streaming: Pac-12.com/live

Radio: Huskies Gameday App

Location: Seattle, Washington

DraftKings Betting Line: Washington Huskies -2

Utah Utes 2021-22 Statistics:

Record: 8-13 (1-10)

Points For per Game: 69.1 ppg (199th)

Points Against per Game: 69.5 ppg (172nd)

Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 107.7 (84th)

Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 103.4 (183rd)

Strength of Schedule: 29th

Utah Key Players:

G- Rollie Worster, So. 6’4, 201: 7.2 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 3.1 apg, 38.9% FG, 34.1% 3pt, 83.3% FT

Against UW on 1/6: 10 pts, 7 reb, 2 ast, 4/9 FG, 1/1 3pt, 1/2 FT

G- David Jenkins, Sr. 6’1, 204: 9.3 ppg, 1.7 rpg, 0.8 apg, 38.6% FG, 41.6% 3pt, 84.9% FT

Against UW on 1/6: 0 pts, 2 reb, 0 ast, 0/3 FG, 0/3 3pt, 0/0 FT

G- Marco Anthony, Sr. 6’5. 223: 8.3 ppg, 6.9rpg, 1.8 apg, 39.1% FG, 37.9% 3pt, 69.8% FT

Against UW on 1/6: 10 pts, 13 reb, 4 ast, 4/11 FG, 0/1 3pt, 2/4 FT

G- Lazar Stefanovich, Fr. 6’7, 186: 7.8 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 1.3 apg, 35.8% FG, 28.2% 3pt, 84.8% FT

Against UW on 1/6: 12 pts, 5 reb, 2 ast, 4 TO, 5/12 FG, 2/5 3pt, 0/0 FT

C- Branden Carlson, Jr. 7'0, 216: 13.1 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 2.0 bpg, 52.7% FG, 30.0% 3pt, 86.4% FT

Against UW on 1/6: 12 pts, 7 reb, 2 blk, 5/8 FG, 0/2 3pt, 2/2 FT

The Outlook

Things have gone from bad to worse for Utah since the last time these 2 teams faced off against one another. The Utes are currently on a 9-game losing streak and have slid to the surefire worst team in the conference standings as a result. Utah is 11th in both offensive and defensive efficiency in Pac-12 play even though they are 8th in the conference at KenPom by virtue of their 8-4 start before the wheels completely fell off.

Part of Utah’s struggles comes from their lack of identity. 11 players have played at least 20% of the Utes’ minutes so far (that total should add up to 500%). By comparison, the Huskies are at 8 right now with Jackson Grant just missing the cutoff and Langston Wilson barely making it. Unsurprisingly based on that information, no player has played even 70% of the team’s minutes. There is no “go-to” guy on the Utah roster and their best player is probably their center who has missed 7 games so far this year and can’t start an offense.

Under Larry Krystkowiak the Utes were always one of the best inside scoring teams in the country. They seemingly always had a ton of wings and guards shooting a high percentage on 2’s by virtue of efficient cuts to the basket and quality interior passing. So far in Pac-12 play Utah is last in 2-pt % on offense and more than 3% behind the 11th place team. Part of that is due to Branden Carlson’s injury but essentially none of Utah’s guards are good at turning the corner and finishing at the rim.

Despite the inability to make layups, Utah is good at getting fouled and taking advantage once they get to the line. Against Washington the first time Utah shot just 7/11 from the free throw line but right now they’re 6th in the country making more than 80% of their foul shots. If the Huskies shoot like they did on Thursday night against Colorado there’s the potential for Utah to make up 10 points at the free throw line.

That will be necessary because the Huskies should once again gain a significant possession advantage through steals. Utah is 347th in the country in forcing turnovers and Washington is 6th nationally in not getting the ball stolen. Last game Utah had 0 steals and it would be an aberration if they have more than 3 this time around. Washington had a 19-6 turnover advantage 3 weeks ago and it might not be quite that stark today but it certainly wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Huskies end up with a +10 margin again.

You can’t just throw out the first half against Oregon but even including that performance the Huskies have won 5 of 7 including a road win over this same Utah team and are 3-0 at home in Pac-12 play. Take into account Utah’s 9-game losing streak and this really needs to be a victory for the Huskies. Washington needs to bank every win it can over the next 2 weeks before a 5-game gauntlet where every game is against a top-50 team at KenPom.

Utah is definitely better than your average 1-10 in conference play team and could absolutely pull the upset if the Huskies continue to play uninspired offensively. Ultimately though I think Utah should cough up the ball enough that UW has sufficient fast break looks which spark the offense to the point where the Huskies can eventually take control.

Prediction

Washington Huskies- 66, Utah Utes- 60