No. 21 Arizona State (15-4, 3-4) plays host to Pac-12 foe, Utah (12-7, 4-4) for its first home game in almost two weeks. In the two opponents previous matchup on January 7, ASU came out on top 80-77 — snapping a five-game losing streak against the Utes.
Here are five things we’ve gathered about Utah:
Inconsistent, middle of the pack squad
Since the last matchup with the Sun Devils, Utah has gone 2-2 in conference play. The Utes lost both games on the road to USC and UCLA but bounced back to defeat Washington State and Washington, respectively. Currently, Utah sits dead in the middle of the Pac-12 rankings.
Led by upperclassmen
The Utah starting lineup is quite experienced as it’s made up of three seniors, a junior and just one freshman. Its leader, though, is guard Justin Bibbins who is averaging 33.4 minutes per game, 14.3 PPG, while shooting 47% from three-point land and dishing out just over five assists per game.
The Utes own the Pac-12 Player of the Week
Speaking of Bibbins, he was awarded the Pac-12 Player of the Week Award after defeating both Washington programs. Over that two-game stretch, the senior guard recorded back-to-back double-doubles. In the first game against Washington, Bibbins had 20 points and 10 rebounds. Then, facing Washington State, he racked up 13 points and 12 assists. The 12 assists are the most in a game for a Utah player since February 2016 and Bibbins if the first Utah guard to win Pac-12 POTW since Delon Wright in December 2014.
Make it rain from deep
It’s evident that Utah loves to shoot the 3-ball, as its already connected on 175 3-pointers this season, averaging 9.2 per game. The Utes have made double-digit 3-pointers in 10 of their 19 games this season and are on pace for 266 threes this season.
Utah leads the all-time series against Arizona State 33-21, although ASU leads 13-11 at Wells Fargo Arena. But, the Utes have won two in a row in Tempe dating back to the 2014-15 season. In Utah’s last six victories over ASU, its average margin of victory is 21.3 points, but in the Utes four recent losses, the margin of defeat is only 3.3 points.
The game tips off Thursday in Tempe at 7:00 p.m. MST on the Pac-12 Network.