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Arizona Wildcats vs Utah Utes Betting Preview | Feb. 4

The Arizona Wildcats look for a second straight win when they visit the Utah Utes for a Pac-12 contest on Thursday night. Arizona is coming off a rout of California on Saturday and has won four of five.

The Wildcats (13-4) are currently 7-4 in conference play, sitting in a fourth-place tie with Colorado. Those  teams are 2.5 games behind first-place UCLA, with USC and Oregon in between.

Timmy Allen of the Utah Utes handles the ball against Josh Green #0 of the Arizona Wildcats. Here's our Arizona Wildcats vs Utah Utes betting preview
Christian Petersen/Getty Images/AFP

Utah (7-7) won at Colorado in its last game on Saturday, the sixth straight game that the Utes have alternated between wins and losses. Utah has gone 4-6 in conference play thus far, putting it in eighth place in the league.

Our Arizona Wildcats vs Utah Utes betting preview has Arizona as a 1½-point favorite in this one. The over/under for the game is set at 142, something to keep in mind if you’re betting online.

Strong Inside

The Arizona Wildcats are one of the taller teams in college basketball, with a starting lineup that includes 6-11 freshman forward Azuolas Tubelis (10.9 points, 6.3 rebounds) and 7-1 sophomore forward Christian Koloko (5.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.5 blocks). Arizona and Utah State are the only teams in the country that have not been outrebounded by an opponent.

The Arizona offense is led by junior guard James Akinjo, who averages a team-high 14.8 points and 5.7 assists per game. Akinjo is also fourth in the Pac-12 in steals per game (1.7) and sixth in 3-pointers made (34), and he’s averaging 19.3 points and 5.8 assists over his last four contests.

Freshman swingman Bennedict Mathurin has been solid, averaging 11.6 points and 4.8 rebounds, while 6-11 sophomore forward Jordan Brown comes off the bench for 10.1 points and 5.2 rebounds per contest.

The Arizona offense has been the best in the Pac-12 this season, averaging a league-high 79.55 points and ranking second in assists (15.7 per game), rebound margin (plus-7.1) and 3-point field-goal percentage (.399).

Needing Consistency

The Utes are trying to put things together. However, they haven’t strung together as many as two wins in a row since mid-December. Utah just had a game at Arizona State scheduled for Tuesday postponed for a second time. That has played a little into the team’s lack of consistency.

Coach Larry Krystkowiak would also like to see a bit more balance to the Utes’ offense, though he does have one of the top scorers in the Pac-12 in junior forward Timmy Allen, who averages 16.8 points per game. Allen is also leading Utah with 6.2 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game.

Alfonso Plummer has been solid off the bench, scoring 13.6 points per game, including a team-high 32 3-pointers. Plummer has played a reserve role over the last seven games after starting the first seven contests of the season.

Plummer had 23 points in the second half against Colorado, helping to lead a comeback from a 19-point deficit for the win, earning him college basketball news headlines and Pac-12 Player of the Week honors. The Utes are hoping that that victory can give them some momentum going forward.

Tight Battle

The Utes are coming off a potential season-saving victory if they hope to get to NCAA March Madness, but only if they can follow it up with some wins. Being at home for the next two games will only mean something if they can defend their home court.

Arizona is playing for its best possible finish in the conference standings since it won’t be going to the conference tournament or NCAAs due to a self-imposed postseason ban.

Free Pick

Both teams have something to play for. This one should be tightly contested throughout, hence the close line by oddsmakers. In the end, the Wildcats just have too much size inside and offensive firepower, so when making your college basketball picks, give the 1½ points and go with Arizona.

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