ARIZONA WILDCATS (17-2)
at WASHINGTON HUSKIES (12-8)
Tip-off: Thursday, 9:00 p.m. ET
Line: Arizona -5, Total: 139.5
No. 8 Arizona seeks a third straight road victory when it visits slumping Washington on Thursday night.
The Wildcats are 7-1 SU (4-4 ATS) in non-home games this season, but have not been a great bet lately, going 2-6 ATS in their past eight contests. The Huskies are looking to end a three-game losing skid (1-2 ATS) in which they've allowed their opponents to shoot 55% from the floor. But Washington has a leg up in this series, winning five of the past six matchups (4-2 ATS) with the lone loss coming by one point in Tucson four meetings ago.
Can Washington retain its dominance over Arizona with another win on Thursday night? For the answer, connect to College Basketball Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. The experts were a collective 9-3 ATS (75%) on Wednesday night as StatFox Gary went 2-0 ATS, StatFox Scott was 3-1 ATS and both StatFox Dave and StatFox Brian were 2-1 ATS. Gary now has a stellar 56% ATS (65-52-1) record for the season for college basketball Best Bets, while StatFox Dave is 53% ATS (104-93-3) on the year. StatFox Scott is 17-12 ATS (59%) since Jan. 20, and StatFox Brian has 14 non-losing days in the past 19 days.
It's no fluke that Arizona is a top-10 team, as it scores 75.5 PPG (34th in nation) and has a rebounding margin of +8.6 RPG (10th in nation). The Wildcats also shoot well from the free-throw line (75.4%) and from long distance, knocking down 7.7 threes per game on a 36.8% clip. SG Mark Lyons leads the team with 14.9 PPG, which is helped by his impressive 87.3% free-throw percentage. In seven Pac-12 games this season, Lyons has scored a hefty 17.4 PPG. Senior PF Solomon Hill (13.5 PPG, 5.6 RPG) has scored at least 13 points in eight straight games, averaging 15.8 PPG and 6.6 RPG over this stretch. Hill had double-doubles in both meetings with Washington last season, pumping in 28 points (9-of-10 FG, 8-of-9 FT) and 11 boards in the home loss, then going for 13 points and 10 rebounds in the defeat in Seattle. Sophomore SG Nick Johnson is the team's other double-digit scorer at 13.3 PPG, a number that has risen steadily with his recent surge of 18.7 PPG on 55% FG in the past three games. In his first trip to Seattle last season, Johnson had a brilliant game with 20 points, four assists and four rebounds. The Wildcats also rely heavily on a pair of freshmen frontcourt players in SF Brandon Ashley (8.1 PPG, 5.8 RPG) and C Kaleb Tarczewski (5.8 PPG, 5.8 RPG), who combined for 21 points and 14 rebounds in Saturday's win over USC.
Washington's offense is not very efficient with 69.4 PPG (124th in nation) on 44.0% FG (140th in D-I) and a meager 11.7 APG (254th in nation). The Huskies do shoot well from behind the three-point line though (37.0%) and block 4.4 shots per game, to make up for their paltry 4.7 steals per game (19th-fewest in D-I). Four players score more than 10 points per game for Washington, led by junior swingman C.J. Wilcox (19.0 PPG, 4.7 RPG). He's shooting a career-best 47% FG and 42% threes this season, and is averaging 20.0 PPG and 5.3 RPG in seven conference games this season. Wilcox averaged 13.0 PPG on 60% FG in the series sweep of Arizona last season. Senior SG Scott Suggs (12.2 PPG) is the team's sharp-shooter, draining 39% of his threes and 89% of his free throws. Suggs has four straight games scoring in double-figures, making all three of his long-range attempts in Saturday's 81-76 loss at Oregon. Senior PG Abdul Gaddy (11.4 PPG, 3.5 APG) is tasked with running the offense, but his Ast/TO ratio is a subpar 1.17 this season with just 70 assists and 60 turnovers. He's fouled out of each of his past two games, committing eight turnovers with just five assists in this span. Senior C Aziz N'Diaye (10.5 PPG, 9.2 RPG) is the other double-digit scorer, thanks to a 63.2% FG clip. But the 7-footer makes just 46% of his free throws and has scored seven points or less in three of his past four contests. Freshman G Andrew Andrews (8.2 PPG, 2.7 APG) has pitched in nicely on the offensive end over the past three games with 11.7 PPG and 4.7 APG. But he's got a long way to go before his shooting percentages of 38% FG and 28% threes reach a respectable level. Washington is seeking its fifth straight home win over ranked teams.