How to Watch (and bet)
Date: Saturday, 1/28/23
Tip-Off Time: 2:30 pm PT
Location: Seattle, Washington
DraftKings Betting Line: Washington Huskies +7
#6 Arizona Wildcats 2022-23 Statistics:
Record: 18-3 (7-3)
Points For per Game: 82.3 (7th)
Points Against per Game: 71.3 (208th)
Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 115.2 (17th)
Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 94.8 (29th)
Strength of Schedule: 22nd
Arizona’s Key Players:
G- Kerr Kriisa, Jr. 6’3, 190: 10.9 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 5.6 apg, 37.3% FG, 35.7% 3pt, 87.0% FT
The play of Kerr Kriisa will remind Seahawk fans of having Richard Sherman. When he’s on on your team you love him and his shenanigans are cheeky and fun. When he’s not on your team he’s the most hated player by every fan. On offense Kriisa is a gunner and about 1 of every 5 or 6 games he’ll do his best to shoot Arizona out of the game when he doesn’t have it. The Wildcats have only lost 7 games in Tommy Lloyd’s tenure and in those games Kriisa’s 3-pt shooting was: 3/10, 0/9, 1/6, 1/7, 0/5, 2/9, and 2/11. If you want to beat Arizona you need Kriisa to shoot 30% or worse from deep.
First UW Game Stats: 9 pts (3/8 3pt), 2 reb, 4 ast, 3 to
G- Courtney Ramey, Sr. 6’3, 185: 10.1 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 3.3 apg, 39.3% FG, 40.9% 3pt, 42.9% FT
After starring for Texas early in his career Ramey struggled playing under Chris Beard with an all-star team of transfers. Under Tommy Lloyd he has played a lot more off the ball and is shooting the vast majority of his shots from 3 and hitting a good percentage. However he has been abysmal particularly in conference play everywhere else: 29.6% on 2’s and 16.7% from the FT line.
First UW Game Stats: 3 pts (1/8 FG), 0 reb, 0 ast, 2 to, 2 stl
G- Pelle Larsson, Jr. 6’5, 215: 10.1 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 3.0 apg, 43.8% FG, 29.0% 3pt, 86.0% FT
Somehow Larsson’s 3-point shooting percentages have fallen by 7-10% per year since he was a true freshman at Utah and made 46%. Larsson has compensated for the worse shooting by driving the ball more often. He’s still an elite free throw shooter and surprisingly is 33rd in the country in free throw rate and is really adept at getting to the line.
First UW Game Stats: 12 pts (3/9 FG), 5 reb, 5 ast, 4 stl
F- Azuolas Tubelis, Jr. 6’11, 245: 19.8 ppg, 9.6 rpg, 2.0 apg, 55.8% FG, 45.0% 3pt, 75.7% FT
Tubelis has been able to shake off a terrible NCAA tournament run and is on the short list of contenders for national player of the year so far. He’s scored at least 12 points in every game this season. Tubelis doesn’t take many 3’s but is making them at a career rate while also hitting a career highs in free throw shooting percentage. He’s also in the top-160 nationally in both offensive and defensive rebounding rate while cutting down on his turnovers. Washington made Tubelis work for it last time but he still dominated overall.
First UW Game Stats: 18 pts (7/18 FG), 10 reb, 4 ast, 4 blk, 3 stl
C- Oumar Ballo, Jr. 7’0, 260: 15.4 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 1.7 bpg, 63.5% FG, 58.0% FT
When Ballo committed to Gonzaga it was clear he was a physical freak who looked like a baby Shaq but was extremely raw. As a junior he has taken his game to the next level while almost doubling his minutes despite previous conditioning concerns. He’s 10th in the country in fouls drawn per 40 minutes and despite slumping lately is making over 60% of his shots. The battle between him and Meah is going to be the most intriguing matchup of the game. Meah went scoreless on Thursday while Ballo had 1 point yet both teams won.
First UW Game Stats: 15 pts (5/11 3pt), 7 reb, 1 blk
When the Huskies played Arizona at the beginning of the month the thought was that the Wildcats were an offensive juggernaut. At the time they #1 in the country in adjusted offensive efficiency and 2nd in total points per game at 88.0. Well in the 7 games since (including against UW) Arizona has been in a bit of an offensive funk falling to 82.0 points per game and 17th in offensive efficiency. They’re still 5-2 in that stretch though in part because the defense has surged to compensate, rising from 59th to 29th in efficiency within the month.
Washington almost pulled off a stunning upset as an 18-point underdog back in Tucson. It still doesn’t quite make sense looking back at it. Both teams shot an identical 9/27 on 3-point attempts as the Huskies started out with hot shooting before tailing off. The Huskies narrowly won the battle of the boards 42-41 as Braxton Meah played 37 minutes managing to stay out of foul trouble. The free throw line was the differentiator as the Huskies were 6/11 (including 0/4 for Braxton Meah) compared to Arizona’s 13/17 at the stripe.
The Huskies are going to hope they can play just about an identical game and just come up with an extra play on each end to upset Arizona. The Wildcats shot just 39% on 2-pointers compared to their season average of 56.7% which is 10th in the country. Braxton Meah was a monster on the defensive end challenging shots and making Arizona second guess themselves. He’ll need to be up to the task again.
The other defensive challenge will be keeping track of Kerr Kriisa at the 3-point line at the same time. Arizona is undefeated over the last 2 seasons when Kriisa shoots better than 30% on 3’s so that’s the magic number. It has been a mixed bag for the Huskies in that regard as Kriisa was 3/8 from deep this year and then 6/9 and 2/9 in the games last season.
Scoring points is also going to be a challenge the way Arizona’s defense is playing. During their 3-game wining streak sweeping the L.A schools at home and winning at Wazzu they’re giving up only 58 points per game. That may be a problem for a Husky team who just finished scoring 54 points in regulation against a good ASU defense that’s not as good as Arizona’s.
The season-long metrics for Arizona still look good but this hasn’t been a juggernaut team in conference play. Washington in Pac-12 games is 10th in offensive efficiency and 7th in defensive efficiency. Obviously not great. Arizona is 8th in offensive efficiency and 4th in defensive efficiency. Clearly better but not unbeatable by any stretch.
If the Huskies can channel the same defensive effort they just put forth against ASU and just make their free throws plus don’t average one turnover per minute for a large stretch of the game then they can hang close. It should hopefully be the biggest crowd all season tomorrow and this is a national game on Fox. If Washington wants to make a statement with a season-changing win, this is the spot. I just don’t see the Dawgs being able to quite score enough points against the frontline of Tubelis and Ballo for it to happen.
Max’s Record this Year: 16-6 Straight Up, 12-9-1 Against The Spread
Washington Huskies- 58, Arizona Wildcats- 67