Utah Utes (16-9; 13-8-2 ATS; 8-14 O/U) vs. Washington State Cougars (10-15; 10-14 ATS; 11-13 O/U)
The Utah Utes will aim for their fourth straight win in road matchup against the Washington State Cougars in Pac-12 action Saturday night in Pullman, WA. The Utes are coming off a 70-58 road win against Washington, and the Cougars edged Colorado 73-69 in their latest action on Thursday night. Utah recorded an 82-69 home win against Washington State in the first meeting this season.
Utah’s Defense Shines Again
The Utah Utes played stifling defense in their decisive 70-58 road win against Washington on Thursday night to boost their Pac-12 record to 8-6. The Utes posted a 43% mark from the field, and limited Washington to a 41% shooting performance. David Collette played a big part in the victory, going 8 for 10 from the field for 22 points and five rebounds. The senior forward has shot at least 60% in four out of his last five games, and he is currently averaging 13 points on a terrific 61.8% field goal percentage. Utes’ leading scorer Justin Bibbins was quiet in Thursday’s victory, recording 10 points on 2 for 6 shooting. The senior guard is a three-point specialist, sporting a dazzling 45% clip from beyond the arc, and he is currently averaging 13.8 points per game.
The Utes have tallied three consecutive wins behind stifling defensive play to move into fourth place in the conference standings. They own a 4-4 road record in Pac 12 play, and are ranked 59th in the country in Ken Pomeroy’s college basketball rankings. Utah is averaging 74.2 points per game, ranking them 177th overall. They are limiting opponents to 68.7 points, placing them 84th overall.
Cougars Snap Skid with Win vs. Colorado
The Washington State Cougars finally got back in the win column with a 73-69 home win against Colorado on Thursday night to bring their conference record to 2-11. The Cougars only shot 40% from the field, however they were able to limit Colorado to a 39% clip. Malachi Flynn was tremendous, sinking 30 points on an 11 for 19 shooting performance. The sophomore guard has scored at least 20 points seven times this season, and he stands second in team scoring with 15.2 points on 41% shooting. Cougars’ leading scorer Robert Franks chipped in with 14 points and eight rebounds in Thursday’s win. The junior forward has been steady throughout conference play, and he is currently averaging 17.8 points and 6.9 rebounds per game.
The Cougars snapped an ugly seven game losing streak in Thursday’s win. Their defensive play has been awful, and they are now positioned at 186th overall in Ken Pomeroy’s college basketball rankings. Washington State possesses a 2-4 home record in Pac-12 action, and they are currently posting an average of 73.2 points per game, ranking them 203rd overall. They are conceding an average of 77.6 points, positioning them down at 297th in the country.
The Utah Utes are:
- 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games against Washington State.
- 6-1-1 ATS in their last 8 games overall.
- 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up win.
The Washington State Cougars are:
- 1-7 ATS in their last 8 games overall.
- 1-9 ATS in their last 10 games against a team with a winning record.
- 1-11 ATS in their last 12 games against a team with a winning percentage above .600.
I am siding with Utah in this matchup. Utah is playing suffocating defense, allowing 60 or fewer points in three straight games, and they are up against a low-scoring Washington State team. The Cougars are only averaging 69.4 points in their last ten games, and they will struggle to score points against Utah’s stifling defense. Furthermore, Washington State is also weak defensively, conceding at least 80 points in seven out of their last eight games, and Utah scored 82 points in their 82-69 win against the Cougars earlier this season.