Arizona vs. Washington State College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions: Can Cougars Run With Wildcats? (Thursday, February 10)
Rebecca Noble/Getty Images. Pictured: Oumar Ballo
- Arizona is a road favorite despite playing what will be its fourth game in just a week's time.
- Washington State has surpassed expectations this season, but can the Cougars keep up with the high-flying Wildcats?
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of this matchup, including a betting pick.
Arizona vs. Washington State Odds
-110o / -110u
|Washington State Odds|
-110o / -110u
The last seven days have been rather eventful for Arizona basketball. Last Thursday, Arizona defeated rival UCLA to avenge its loss in the second meeting between top-10 programs in a 10 day span. On Saturday, the Wildcats prevailed 72-63 in a hard fought battle over USC.
On Monday, Arizona battled with its in-state rival Arizona State, which had upset on its mind. The Sun Devils jumped out a 16-3 lead but Arizona stormed back and outscored the Sun Devils 88-63 en route to a 91-79 victory. Arizona’s explosive fast break was on full display as it completed the season sweep. The Wildcats improved to 20-2 and 10-1 in the Pac-12.
Next on the docket is a trip to Pullman to battle Washington State.
Washington State has gotten progressively better under third-year coach Kyle Smith. After going 30-29 in Smith’s first seasons, Wazzu is 14-7 and 7-3 in the Pac-12. The Cougars have won five straight and six out of seven following the 68-64 victory at Cal on Saturday.
Washington State will enter playing some of its best basketball of the season. Arizona has won three straight itself, but will also be playing its fourth game in seven days. Whose streak will end?
If you have watched Arizona for any length of time this season, you know the Wildcats like to run. The Wildcats are fifth in adjusted tempo and have the third-shortest average possession length in the country at just 14.8 seconds.
Arizona’s efficiency does not suffer despite its pace. It ranks 11th nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency and tops in the Pac-12. Arizona is third in the country in scoring offense at 85.1 points per game. However, prior to its outburst against Arizona State, Arizona had averaged just 66 points in its previous four games.
Bennedict Mathurin leads the Wildcats with 16.5 points per game and also averages six rebounds per game. He on the watch list for the Jerry West Award, given to the nation’s top shooting guard.
Against Washington State, Arizona will be wise to lean on its impressive frontcourt. Forward Azuolas Tubelis is averaging 14.6 points and 6.5 rebounds. He is averaging 17 points and nine rebounds over his last three games and is the reigning Pac-12 Player of the Week. Center Christian Koloko averages 12.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.1 blocks while center Oumar Ballo averages 7.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks off the bench.
Arizona is ninth in 2-point field goal percentage. Washington State is 21st in 2-point field goal defense and has Efe Abogidi, Mouhamed Gueye and Dishon Jackson all standing between 6-foot-10 and 6-foot-11. However, they are also 235 pounds or lighter. Arizona will have the advantage in girth, which could play dividends on the glass. Arizona is eighth in offensive rebounding percentage while Wazzu is 191st in defensive rebounding percentage.
Arizona leads the nation in rebounding and it is key to fueling its defense. The Wildcats are top 10 nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency, 2-point percentage, field goal percentage defense, blocked shots per game and rebound margin.
Washington State’s turnaround this season starts on the defensive end. It ranks 22nd in adjusted defensive efficiency and 20th in effective field goal percentage defense.
The Cougars offer a contrasting style to Arizona. While Arizona will look to run at every opportunity, Washington State ranks 274th in average length of possession and 251st in adjusted tempo.
Offensively, Wazzu has been just good enough, ranking 78th in adjusted offensive efficiency and 63rd in offensive rating. The well-traveled transfer guard Michael Flowers leads with 13.7 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.1 assists. He is shooting nearly 40% from behind the arc.
Sophomore guard Tyrell Roberts averages 11.1 points per game while junior Noah Williams averages 10.5 points. Williams is 6-foot-5, but Flowers and Roberts are 6-foot-1 and 5-foot-11, respectively. Arizona’s length on the perimeter with Mathurin and Dalen Terry could give them some problems on their drives against Arizona’s frontcourt.
Abogidi averages 7.9 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks while Gueye averages 7.2 points, 5.5 rebounds and one block per game. Gueye recently took home Pac-12 Player of the Week honors for the third time this season after he averaged nine points, seven rebounds, two blocks and two steals in the wins over Cal and Stanford last week.
Arizona vs. Washington State Betting Pick
Washington State’s five-game winning streak and 7-3 conference mark are its best since the 2006-07 season. However, it will have to overcome its toughest task of the season to keep that streak going. While the matchup of the Pac-12 top scoring defense matching up with the conference’s top scoring offense, the difference will be at the other end of the court.
It will be tough sledding for the Cougars going against an elite Arizona frontcourt defense. Additionally, Arizona is holding its opponents to just 39% from the field in its road games. Washington State has 80 points just once in its past 12 games. If the game turns into a track meet, it will not be able to keep up.
Arizona has won nine straight in Pullman by an average of 14.4 points. I feel comfortable laying -6 with the Wildcats here.