Arizona at Utah Preview
Arizona will try to stop the bleeding against Utah after losing back-to-back games for the first time this season. Despite their ranking, the Wildcats were never really the favorites on the road against Colorado, so a victory over the Utes would get Arizona more or less back on track. Of course, a win is far from a guarantee. The Utes will come in confident after closing on a 13-2 run to dispatch Arizona State on Wednesday.
After opening Pac-12 Play with five consecutive loses, Utah has turned into an average team, going 3-4 since. The three wins were all fairly impressive and relatively unexpected: the Utes knocked off Washington in Seattle, upset the Colorado team that just smacked Arizona, and then pulled one out against ASU. Utah hasnít blown anybody away, but are a dangerous team when they manage to stick around. Just ask the Sun Devils.
Sensational freshman Jordan Loveridge leads Utah in scoring and rebounding. He averages 12 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. Jason Washburn puts up nearly identical numbers, while also shooting an impressive 58% from the field. Washburn is very active in the post and is a focal point for Utahís attack. He is playing the most explosive basketball of his career lately. Over his last two games, the senior leader has scored 46 points while grabbing 16 rebounds. Jarred DuBois, another senior, is Utahís only other major contributor. He leads the team with 3.2 assists while averaging just under 12 points. Outlook:
A week and a half ago, it was unthinkable Arizona could lose three straight games (the Wildcats only had two loses for the season). Now, nothing seems off the table. Utah is certainly capable of pulling off the upset, but the Wildcats are still the heavy favorites. If Arizona wants to prove its early season success wasnít a fluke, then beating the Utes is a mandatory first step. With a loss, Arizonaís once charmed season would officially cross the line into disappointment.
Despite their recent struggles, the Wildcats are only a game out of first place. The Pac-12 crown is still well within grasp. Furthermore, Arizona has a fairly favorable schedule to close out the conference slate. All remaining games are infinitely winnable. It starts with Utah. The rest of the season begins now.