Published January 5, 2022
TThursday’s list of Pac-12 men’s basketball games features three matchups across three networks.
Colorado hosts Washington State on ESPNU, Washington travels to Salt Lake City to fight Utah on the Pac-12 Network, and No. 7 USC returns to face California on FS1.
The exposure could help on the perception of the league.
I preview all three games here and my selections are shown at the bottom.
Washington State and Colorado
CU Events Center, Boulder, CO
Thursday, January 6th
18:00 PT, ESPNU
The Cougars travel to Boulder, where they have 0-9 during the Pac-12 era and lose by an average of 18 points.
But Washington State has its most complete team since the conference expanded in 2011.
Michael Flowers and Noah Williams lead Kyle Smith’s team, which has 75.7 points per game. match. The offensive firepower will be needed at the height of Boulder, with the CU consistently playing at a different level.
Jabari Walker and Evan Battey are the heart and soul of the Colorado offensive, combining for 26.0 points per game. night and 12.8 rebounds.
But Keeshawn Barthelemey is without a doubt the key to Buffs’ game plan, night in and night out.
Sophomore point guard is third on the team in points and tops the list in assists per game with 2.7.
Bathelemey’s revenue limitation may be the deciding factor on Thursday along with second point guard KJ Simpson’s decision making.
If the duo takes care of the ball, CU’s shots should drop enough to keep WSU in check and overcome any Cougar race.
Washington and Utah
Jon M. Huntsman Center, Salt Lake City, UT
Thursday, January 6th
18:30 PT, Pac-12 Network
The Dawgs is fresh on a respectable match against Arizona, where Washington’s zone defense frustrated Tommy Lloyd’s game plan.
Whether the defensive performance continues in Salt Lake City is an open question, but Utes will face a challenge if Mike Hopkins’ team plays like they did in Tucson.
Look for the Huskies to expand their zone to close to midfield, and venture Utah to take midfielders or corner threes. The result could be a field day for David Jenkins Jr.
The away guard is joining 43 percent of his shots from deep this year, and it expects to come out hungry after being shut out of the Oregon defense on Jan. 1.
Although Utes hit their outside shots, Craig Smith’s team had to shoot the ball effectively in the paint.
The Husky zone is vulnerable to rapid passes and ball movements around the edge, creating soft spots around the rim.
Washington’s defenders are quick to contest shots down, but there should be plenty of opportunities for Utah’s big players around the basket.
As long as Utes does not miss many rabbits and has a strong night from the free throw line, UU should send Washington away with a loss.
No. 7 USC in California
Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, CA.
Thursday, January 7th
20:00 PT, FS1
Fas a team playing in their first match in almost a month, the alarm bells ring for a disturbance in the Haas Pavilion.
California has exceeded expectations until this point in the season, jumping out to a 9-5 start with a 2-1 conference mark.
The Bears’ momentum turned in the second game of the Fort Myers Tip-Off, with Mark Fox’s team taking the then No. 21 Seton Hall down to the lead.
Confidence from that game has been continued, leading to victories over Fresno State, Oregon State, Santa Clara and Arizona State.
But that momentum will be put to the test against No. 7 USC. Trojan horses bring their height and athleticism to Berkeley, where they have won three in a row all the way back to 2018.
Led by Isaiah Mobley, SC scores 75.9 points per game while keeping opponents at 35.2 percent off the field.
The field goal percentage defense is number two in the nation and has become the hallmark of Andy Enfield’s program in LA
To overcome the disturbance, Cal will have to knock down his outside shots and play aggressive defense in the paint. No easy buckets can be allowed at USC’s store.
But if the Bears force the Trojans to beat them at the free-throw line and generate revenue in the process, California could secure its biggest win of the Mark Fox era.