It's the Pac-12 Player of the Year versus the All-American, and the one who many people think should have been voted Player of the Year. Utah looks to get revenge for one of their losses earlier this season, as Delon Wright leads the Runnin' Utes into a Pac-12 tournament semi-final matchup against Joseph Young and the Oregon Ducks.
The matchup that everyone is going to be watching is Wright versus Young, on both ends of the floor, even if the two are entirely different style of players, and may not necessarily be guarding one-another. In the first matchup, Wright outplayed Young by scoring 20 points, collecting 5 assists, 3 steals and 2 rebounds. Wright was a very efficient 6-of-9 from the field for the night, while playing all 40 minutes.
Young, known much more as a scorer, had an off night with the pesky Brandon Taylor in his jersey most of the night. Young went 5-of-16 on the night, with 14 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. Young is a volume shooter, that's just what he does.
The difference in that 69-58 loss up in Eugene by the Utes, was the complimentary pieces to the stars of Wright and Young. While Young had a bit of an off night, he had two other teammates score in double figures, led by Dillon Brooks with 19 points, plus Dwayne Benjamin pitched in 9 more points. Utah allowed Brooks to have his best night in conference play, and he's only a freshman.
Meanwhile, for Wright the next closest scorer was Jordan Loveridge with only 7 points. Other reliable contributors Brandon Taylor and and Dakari Tucker only had 6 points a piece, and Jakob Poeltl, Brekkott Chapman and Jeremy Olsen recorded 5 points a piece. Oh, I better not leave out Chris Reyes' 4 points. That's how Utah got their 58 points - no where good enough then, and that won't be good enough tonight in the Pac-12 semi-finals.
Young is going to get his shots, and probably score some points. While Utah needs to limit him with some tough defense, like the first game, they need to make sure his buddies don't end up burning them, also like the first game. That means rebound and don't give up easy put backs.
Conversely, Utah needs to do what they didn't last time, and that's get some help for Delon Wright. Whether it is Taylor, Loveridge, Tucker, Chapman or whoever, Wright needs help. Taylor has struggled a bit over the last couple of games, so he's due, but the Utah bigs - Poeltl, Bachynski and Chapman - need to take advantage of Oregon's size and get some easy put backs of their own. If Utah gets contributions from other members of the team not named Delon Wright - they will win.
It's going to be a fun night down in Vegas between two projected NCAA tournament teams. While everyone will be paying attention to Wright and Young, it's probably going to be the other guys that determine who wins this game.