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WSU vs. Utah: Preview, TV schedule, odds and game thread

The Cougs could have their first winning streak since November.

NCAA Basketball: Utah at Washington Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Fresh off their first win in a month, the Washington State Cougars will host the Utah Utes, who are riding a three-game win streak and attempting to surge into the NCAA tournament.

Tip off is at 7 p.m. PT from Beasley Coliseum. You can find the game on your TV on ESPN2, or on your streaming device of choice via either or the ESPN app.

The Utes handled the Cougs comfortably the first time around, in Salt Lake City; the 13-point margin doesn’t really accurately describe the ease with which Utah dispatched WSU — trailing by 10 at the half, the Cougs never got closer than nine in the second half, trailing by as many as 18 with five minutes to go.

That said, WSU is coming off a win against Colorado this time around, thanks largely to holding the Buffaloes to just 0.99 points per possession — a massive improvement over the previous seven games (all losses) in which the least WSU allowed was 1.17. The impetus was a terrible shooting performance by the Buffs from deep, in which they were just 3-of-18 from beyond the arc.

You can decide for yourself whether that had more to do with WSU’s defensive prowess or Colorado having an off night; regardless, the Cougs probably will need something like that again tonight, since Utah shoots a lot of 3s and hits them at a high rate. The Utes made 13-of-31 from deep in the first matchup, pretty close to in line with their averages for attempts and makes since Pac-12 play started. You can bet WSU will know where Tyler Rawson is, as he hit 6-of-7 from out there.

WSU shot the ball well enough the first time around, but turned it over on 21 percent of their possessions. The Cougars did a good job taking care of the ball on Thursday against Colorado, which doesn’t typically force a lot of turnovers; they’ll need to do the same today against yet another team that doesn’t prioritize pressure on the ball.

If the Cougs shoot well, take care of the ball, and get a bad perimeter shooting night from the Utes, they’ve got a chance. forecasts this as a game WSU would win about one out of every four times it’s played; the Utes are predicted to win by a 76-69 margin. Vegas sees it about the same, with the Utes as 7.5-point favorites.