Preview: Arizona State at Utah
Arizona State appears headed to the NCAA Tournament while Utah still has work to do as it prepares to host the Sun Devils on Sunday. The Utes missed out on an opportunity to improve their resume when they lost in overtime to Pac-12 leader Arizona on Wednesday, their second straight defeat. Arizona State has won six of its last eight games but scored a season-low 52 points in Wednesdayâs loss to Colorado.
The Sun Devils are one of four teams battling for third place in the tough conference and the loss to the Buffaloes came after an impressive double-overtime victory over Arizona. âI guess we were living our little fairy tale and now weâre back down on earth,â forward Shaquielle McKissic said after the loss to Colorado. Utah wants to avoid a season sweep, having lost at Arizona State 79-75 on Jan. 23.
ABOUT ARIZONA STATE (19-7, 8-5 Pac-12): The Sun Devils not only recorded a season low for points against Colorado, they shot a season-worst 31.5 percent and were outrebounded 48-27. âYou canât step over the fact that we got annihilated on the boards,â coach Herb Sendek said afterward. âColorado just absolutely massacred us on the backboard.â Guards Jahii Carson (18.8 points, 4.6 assists) and Jermaine Marshall (15.8 points, team-leading 65 3-pointers) are the top two scorers, while center Jordan Bachynski (11.9 points, 8.8 rebounds, Pac-12 leading 116 blocked shots) has been outstanding.
ABOUT UTAH (17-9, 6-8): The Utes are 16-2 at home and 12 of the victories have come by double digits. Versatile guard Delon Wright has led Utahâs revival, averaging 16.2 points and 5.5 assists while racking up 67 steals, and forward Jordan Loveridge (15.6 points, team-high 7.6 rebounds) also has shined. Guard Brandon Taylor averages 10.8 points and 3.7 assists for a team that scores 78.7 points per game and shoots 49.9 percent from the field.
1. Arizona State has lost seven consecutive road games to the Utes.
2. Bachynski needs five blocks to pass the Pac-12 single-season record he set last season.
3. Marshall averaged 22 points over a five-game stretch before scoring seven against Colorado.
PREDICTION: Utah 72, Arizona State 71