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ASU Basketball: Sun Devils look to start Pac-12 play on high note against rival Arizona Wildcats

ASU opens up conference play at the McKale Center in Tucson

NCAA Basketball: Pacific at Arizona State Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

After an eight-day holiday break, the No. 3 Arizona State Sun Devils, (12-0) look to pick up right where they left off as conference play tips off against in-state rivals, No. 17 Arizona (10-3) in Tucson on Saturday at 7 p.m.

After starting the season as the second-ranked team in the country, the Wildcats lost three games in three days against North Carolina State, SMU and Purdue in the Battle 4 Atlantis which dropped U of A out of the AP Top-25. Since the three consecutive losses, Arizona has won seven straight and found themselves back at No. 17 in the country.

On the other hand, the Sun Devils are yet to lose a game this season, as they remain the biggest surprise in college basketball this year.

Last week, ASU put up 104 points vs Pacific, which marks the ninth time the Sun Devils have scored 90 or more points in a game this season. The strong, consistent offense can be attributed to the backcourt of Kodi Justice, Shannon Evans II, Tra Holder and Remy Martin. The success and impact of these four players have dubbed Arizona State as “Guard U.”

As non-conference play ends with an undefeated record for the Sun Devils, that feat is immediately put on the line against the toughest and now most anticipated Pac-12 matchup of the season.

The Sun Devils should be up for the challenge as they went into Allen Fieldhouse, arguably the toughest place in the country to play, and stunned then-ranked No. 2 Kansas by defeating them 95-85.

Despite the talent and consistent top recruiting classes for Arizona, expect the Sun Devils to go to Tucson hungry, as they will be looking for their first win down South since 2010.

The Wildcats are led by junior guard Allonzo Trier and their 7 foot 1 freshman center Deandre Ayton, who should have their hands full with “Guard U” and forwards, Romello White and Ohio State transfer Mickey Mitchell.