The University of Utah Runnin’ Utes will return home this week to host the University of Arizona after a fairly successful road trip. The Utes, who are 5-3 at the Huntsman Center, have an opportunity to elevate their record over .500 as they look to protect their home court. Utah was also originally scheduled to play Arizona State twice this week, but due to COVID-19 developments within the Sun Devil’s program, both games were cancelled.
The Runnin’ Utes
Record: (7-7, 4-6 Pac-12)
Last Game: W vs. Colorado, 77-74
Despite a fairly frustrating loss to the Washington Huskies, the Utes are coming off a 2-1 road trip after their shocking 19-point comeback against the University of Colorado on Saturday. When it seemed all was lost, the Utes put together a 31-13 run over the final nine minutes which was fueled by the lone senior, Alfonso Plummer.
Plummer scored 23 of the Utes 41 second-half points after being held scoreless in the initial 20 minutes of play. He was red hot from the floor as he went 8-13 from the floor and 4-6 from beyond the arc. Plummer not only helped earn the Utes a remarkable victory but was also awarded Pac-12 Player of the Week on Monday for his performance.
While Plummer stole the show, Timmy Allen remained consistent as he averaged 15 PPG during the three-game road trip. Allen also posted a career-high in assists as he dished out 10 in the loss to Washington.
The Arizona Wildcats
Record: (13-4, 7-4 Pac-12)
Last Game: W vs. Cal, 71-50
The Wildcats currently sit at the No. 4 spot in the conference standings with their strong 7-4 record. Arguably, the most impressive thing about their record is that Arizona is 4-1 on the road with victories against Arizona State, Oregon State, and both Washington schools.
Arizona provides a lot of versatility as five of their players currently average over 10 PPG. The most notable of those players and one the Utes will need to watch out for is guard James Akinjo. Akinjo is currently averaging 14.8 PPG and 5.7 APG as the Wildcats heavily rely on him to be the center of their offense.
Defense will be a major focus for the Utes as Arizona has many assets on the offensive side of the ball.
The Arizona State Sun Devils
Record: (6-8, 3-5 Pac-12)
Last Game: W vs. Stanford, 79-75
The Sun Devils currently sit one spot below the Utes in the Pac-12 Standings as their 2021 season has been less than impressive. However, the team is coming off back-to-back victories, including an impressive win against Stanford who sits in the top-half of the conference standings.
The victory over Stanford was mainly a group effort as five Sun Devils finished in double-digit scoring. However, the team was led by Remy Martin who dropped 23 points against the Cardinal and finished 9-15 shooting from the floor.
Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 developments within Arizona State’s program, the games originally scheduled for Monday, Feb. 1, and Sunday, Feb. 7, have both been postponed. Both programs will work with the Pac-12 Conference to reschedule the matchup’s.
Follow the Matchup
The Utes will welcome Arizona to the Huntsman Center on Thursday, Feb. 4, with a tip-off of 5 p.m. MST and broadcast on FS1. As always, the game will be radio broadcast on ESPN 700 with Bill Riley on the call.