Finally Pac-12 play is here for Utah basketball. After a tough non-conference slate, the Utes have hit a decent stride the last week or two. They blew out a couple of overmatched teams, and then ran into a very good Nevada team, who just outlasted the Utes. Utah’s turnovers really doomed them in that game.
Now the Utes turn to the toughest road trip of the year to open the conference schedule, the Arizona schools, first up ASU. The Devils have been ranked for a good stretch of the year, but a bad loss to Princeton in Tempe knocked them out. Utah has handled ASU pretty well since joining the league, but the Devils have some solid weapons that will make this game tough. You’ll read more about some of the dudes below, but Bobby Hurley, and his insane temper, is recruiting really well to ASU. The question is can the Devils sustain throughout the conference season, whereas they fell apart last year.
It’s going to be a similar story for the Utes, take care of the ball and you’ll have a chance. If Utah turns it over on the road, they’ll get boat raced. Also, who else but Sedrick Barefield will put the ball in the basket? With that said, can Sed keep up the hot shooting? We really need a guy like Donnie Tillman to step up. Timmy Allen has shown some flashes but is too inconsistent right now. It’s really been the Barefield show, as it was against Nevada. They need someone to step up and help him out.
Hopefully the Utes can get things started right in conference play, and winning in Tempe would be one hell of a start.
Here’s more about ASU from the official game notes:
SCOUTING ARIZONA STATE
The Sun Devils, who were ranked No. 17 in last week’s AP Poll, is coming off a 67-66 home loss to Princeton and rounded out non-conference play with a record of 9-3. Arizona State went 6-1 at home during non-conference play, picking up a win over then No. 1-ranked Kansas, but then falling to Princeton this past Saturday. ASU picked up a road win at Georgia, but had road losses to Nevada and Vanderbilt.
The Sun Devils are led by Luguentz Dort’s 18.1 points per game and Zylan Cheatham’s 10.1 rebounds per game. Remy Martin (12.2 ppg), Kimani Lawrence (11.9) and Cheatham (11.3) all register double-digit scoring averages heading into Pac-12 play. Cheatham’s 7.75 defensive rebounds per game average ranks first in the league and No. 13 in the nation heading into this week. As a team, ASU pulls down 44.0 rebounds per game, which ranks first in the Pac-12 and No. 5 overall in the nation.
ASU is one of the league and nation’s best at getting to the free throw line, ranking No. 18 in the nation in attempts (342) and No. 24 in the nation in makes (234), but their .684 free throw shooting percentage ranks No. 221 overall and ninth in the Pac-12. Rob Edwards is the team’s best free throw shooter, having knocked down .929 overall, but he has just 14 free throw attempts on the season.
UTAH VS. ARIZONA STATE SERIES HISTORY
Utah and Arizona State will meet for the 55th time, with Utah leading the series 33-21. The Utes and Sun Devils split last season’s two meetings with the visiting team taking both games. Utah defeated then No. 21-rankd ASU, 80-77, in overtime back on Jan. 25 of last season.
Utah is 12-13 all-time when facing the Sun Devils in Tempe, which includes having won three straight and the last loss at Wells Fargo Arena coming back on Jan. 2, 2013 (54-55, OT).
Utah is 8-4 against ASU, since becoming a member of the Pac-12 (2011-12).
How to watch
GAME 13: Utah (6-6, 0-0) at Arizona State (9-3, 0-0)
WHERE: Tempe, Ariz. (Wells Fargo Arena)
WHEN: Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019
TIP-OFF: 6 p.m. MT
TELEVISION: Pac-12 Networks / Pac-12 LIVE
Join us here to chat about the game!