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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

No. 10 Arizona MBB set to face Utah

Caleb+Love+completes+his+post+game+interview+with+ESPN+after+beating+Wisconsin+in+McKale+Center+on+Dec.+9.+Arizona+finished+the+game+with+only+seven+turnovers+against+Wisconsin.%0A
Mason Kumet
Caleb Love completes his post game interview with ESPN after beating Wisconsin in McKale Center on Dec. 9. Arizona finished the game with only seven turnovers against Wisconsin.

The No. 10 Arizona men’s basketball team is set to host the University of Utah on Saturday, Jan. 6, at 6 p.m. in McKale Center. The Wildcats (11-3) will look to sweep the weekend after steamrolling the University of Colorado 97-50 Thursday night. The Wildcats’ 47-point victory was their largest conference margin of victory since 1997 and the 19th largest in school history.

History vs. Utah:

This Saturday, the two programs will meet for the 68th time. Arizona currently holds a 36-31 lead in the series but has been 18-4 over the last 22 meetings. Additionally, the Wildcats are 22-8 at home against Utah and are unbeaten in their last 11 matchups. Utah’s last victory in Tucson came on Dec. 6, 1986, when the Utes defeated the Wildcats 68-67.

Utah players to watch:

Utah is led by third-year head coach Craig Smith, who boasts a 39-38 record with the team. Behind Smith, Utah (11-3) is off to its best start to the season since 2015, when the Utes began the season 11-2. Utah entered the week riding an eight-game winning streak before suffering its first loss since mid-November against ASU on Thursday night. The Utes have wins over former-No. 14 BYU, Saint Mary’s and Wake Forest University, and losses against former-No. 2 University of Houston and St. John’s University.

Branden Carlson

The fifth-year senior center has been great all season, leading the team in scoring and second in rebounding. Carlson is averaging 18.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. Carlson has eclipsed 22 or more points in four games this season, including a career-high 34 points against the University of Washington last month. He has also reached double figures in all but two games this season.

Gabe Madsen

Madsen ranks second on the team in scoring, averaging 13.6 and 4.3 rebounds per game. The senior guard has had some strong scoring performances, including six games where he scored 17 or more points. However, Madsen has also failed to reach double figures four times, including Thursday night’s loss against ASU, where he scored a season-low three points.

Rollie Worster

The fifth-year senior ranks third on the team in scoring, averaging 10.6 points, 5 rebounds and a team-high 5.9 assists per game. Worster has reached double figures in scoring seven times, but his best ability is his passing. Throughout Utah’s 14 games, Worster has had five or more assists nine times, including a season-high 10 assists last month. However, Worster’s ball security has been an issue, as he leads the team with two turnovers per game.

Wildcats to watch:

The Wildcats’offense remains one of the best in the country, averaging 92.6 points per game, which ranks second in the country. Their defense ranks third in adjusted defensive efficiency, according to kenpom.com, while their offense ranks fifth. The Wildcats also have all five of their starters averaging double figures.

Caleb Love

Love has been one of the leading forces for the Arizona offense. The University of North Carolina transfer currently leads the team in scoring with an average of 17.3 points and 2.9 assists per game. Of Arizona’s 14 games, Love has scored 20 or more points six times, including five times over the Wildcat’s last seven matchups.

Oumar Ballo

Ballo had a quiet night against Colorado, failing to reach double figures for the first time this season while scoring a season-low four points. However, the senior still ranks second on the team in scoring, averaging 12.5 points and a team-high 8.3 rebounds per game. Over Arizona’s last five games, Ballo is averaging 12.4 points and 12 rebounds per game, including three double-doubles.

Pelle Larsson

Larsson is averaging career highs in both scoring and assists. The senior is averaging 12.5 points and 3.4 assists per game, shooting a career-best 55.8% from the field. After back-to-back rough performances to close out the month of December, Larsson was back in his groove Thursday, scoring 18 points on an 8-12 shooting performance while hauling in 7 rebounds.

Kylan Boswell

Boswell had himself a rebound performance against Colorado, scoring 14 points while going 4-7 from behind the arc. The sophomore guard was plagued by shooting struggles throughout December. Boswell averaged less than 9 points per game and shot a meager 32.4% from the field. However, Boswell, backed by a strong start to the season, is averaging 11.1 points and a team-high 4.1 assists per game.


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