Midwest Region: Washington vs Utah State Prediction
Washington vs Utah State Preview
The 8 vs 9 matchups are always difficult to predict, but this game features two teams that can arguably be one and done’s or bracket busters.
Utah State went 28-6 overall, scoring 79.1 points per game while shooting 47.4 percent from the field and 35.3 from three-point range during the regular season. They have a dangerous offensive weapon in Sam Merrill, who took home Mountain West Player of the Year honors after he put together career-highs in scoring (21.2), assists (4.2 ), rebounds (4.0 ) and steals (1.0).
He’s not the only talented member on the Aggies–they also sport the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year in Neemias Queta, who averaged 11.6 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.4 blocks. He is a lethal force in the paint.
For Washington, they looked like a Top-5 seed in January, only to fall off dramatically as the season drew to a close. They still finished 26-8 this season, putting up 70.4 points per game while shooting 45.7 percent from the field. They win ball games on the defensive end of the floor, however.
Featuring a zone defense that stifles opponents, the Huskies rank in the Top 30 nationally in defensive efficiency and will deliver different looks on the court the Aggies have not seen this season. Just like Utah State, UW has a conference Player of the Year and conference Defensive Player of the Year–those honors went to:
Jaylen Nowell (Player of the Year): 16.3 points, 5.4 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.2 steals per game.
Matisse Thybulle (Defensive Player of the Year): 9.3 points, 3.1 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 2.4 blocks per game. The way he impacts the game does not show up on the stat-sheet.
LINE: -2.5 Utah State
Dan’s Bet: -2.5 Utah State
Bracket Pick: Utah State
Score Prediction: Utah State 80 Washington 70