Utah (8-4) at Arizona State (11-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, January 2, 10 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Wells Fargo Arena (10,754) -- Tempe, Arizona. Television: Pac-12 Network. Home Record: Utah 7-2, Arizona State 9-1. Away Record: Utah 1-2, Arizona State 1-0. Neutral Record: Utah 0-0, Arizona State 1-1. Conference Record: Utah 0-0, Arizona State 0-0. Series Record: Utah leads, 26-17.
GAMES NOTES: The Pac-12 schedule kicks off for the Utah Utes and the Arizona State Sun Devils when the two teams collide at Wells Fargo Arena on Wednesday night.
Utah has traded wins and losses over its last four games with the most recent outing ending in a 72-38 thrashing of NAIA foe the College of Idaho. That win finished off a three-game homestand for the Utes who are now 8-4 overall this season including a record of 1-2 in true road games. Utah will stay in the Copper State to face Arizona on Saturday.
The Sun Devils had a fantastic run through their non-conference schedule. Arizona State is currently sitting with an 11-2 overall record after winning its third straight game against Coppin State on Saturday. Some of the success is accredited to the limited travel for the team as the Sun Devils are 9-1 at home where they will remain against Colorado on Sunday.
Last year these teams split the season series with the home team coming out on top each time. Utah leads the all-time series by a 26-17 margin.
In allowing the fewest points in a game since 2009, the Utes limited the College of Idaho to just 23.4 percent shooting, while holding a 48-32 edge on the boards. Jordan Loveridge had a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds in the win.
It has been a habit for Utah to limit opponents on the defensive end of the floor. The Utes are letting up just 57.2 points per game, while holding opponents to the seventh-lowest field goal percentage (.352) in the country. On the other end Utah has not been particularly productive as it ranks 10th in the Pac-12 in scoring (69.4 ppg), despite shooting better than 47 percent from the field. The tandem of Jarred DuBois (13.5 ppg, 4.0 apg) and Loveridge (13.0 ppg, 7.6 rpg) have provided nice balance for the offense. DuBois is joined in the backcourt by Glen Dean (8.2 ppg), while 7-footers Jason Washburn (9.2 ppg) and Dallin Bachynski (7.6 ppg, 6.2 rpg) are solid frontcourt performers.
Arizona State blocked 10 shots against Coppin State marking the seventh time this year that the Sun Devils have had at least nine rejections in a game. Arizona State also limited Coppin State to just 33.3 percent shooting, while holding a 41-29 edge on the boards.
Although he had a more pedestrian showing against Coppin State (11 points, 6 rebounds), Carrick Felix has been playing extremely well of late for the Sun Devils. Felix (14.6 ppg, 7.5 rpg) is one of three players scoring in double figures and has brought in 9.1 rebounds per game over the last seven contests. He is also shooting better than 60 percent from the field in that stretch. Jahii Carson's freshman campaign continues to grab headlines as he is pouring in 17.7 points while dishing out 5.7 assists per game. Evan Gordon (11.4 ppg) is also scoring in double figures while Jordan Bachynski (9.8 ppg, 7.1 rpg) has blocked the third-most shots in the country (4.5 pg). Arizona State has a scoring margin of +10.7 and has held opponents to just 38.9 percent shooting this season.
Arizona State has played extremely well and now gets the chance to prove how much it has improved against a conference foe. The Sun Devils' starting five is one of the best in the conference and should carry them over the Utes.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Arizona State 76, Utah 68.
01/02 10:36:02 ET