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ASU Basketball: Utah preview

Can ASU split the trip?

NCAA Basketball: Oregon at Utah Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports


VS ASU this year: 1-0

NET Ranking: 93

Points scored: 76.1 (103 of 353)

Points allowed: 74.2 (247 of 353)

Sun Devil fans groaned after Arizona State dropped their first meeting with the Utes in Tempe. ASU was on path to blow by Utah before a late first half run reversed the momentum for the Utes. Utah proceeded to score 96 points on the Devils, the most they’ve allowed all year.

Senior guard Sedrick Barefield isn’t a player the ASU faithful wants to see again. Barefield led the charge in Utah’s win with 24 points and five threes. Sophomore forward Donnie Tillman also had six threes in Utah’s deep ball parade, Tillman finished with 22 points off the bench.

While the Sun Devils have struggled to find any consistency of late, Utah has won seven of their last nine games. Despite a rough weekend at home against the Oregon schools, the Utes have been rolling in conference play, which has placed them in a potential first round bye come conference tournament time.

Utah’s defense has become more consistent over this hot stretch. Since beating Washington State in early January, the Utes have allowed 80 points just twice, with one being in one of their two losses of late. Before that win against the Cougars, Utah allowed over 80 points five times, with ASU being one of the five.

In ASU’s losses this season, it has generally been the offense that has led to the Sun Devils’ downfall. However, ASU’s inability to defend the three and a lack of transition defense was their demise against Utah in January.

Against Colorado, the Buffs got the better of ASU in terms of rebounding and points in the paint, which was the opposite when the Sun Devils beat conference leader Washington. If Utah controls the inside and hit close to the same percentage of threes as the first matchup with ASU, they’ll take the season sweep.

To see which ASU team shows up, watch FS1 at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday