Delon Wright stole the show on Thursday night and may have locked up the conference player of the year award. Now it's his time to shine against a high level opponent. If Utah wants to win tonight, Wright is going to need to be Wright. Brandon Taylor continues his impressive play and has hit more clutch shots this season than any other Ute. They'll need him to maintain his shooting from deep on Saturday night.
Wright may be the front-runner for conference player of the year, but Stanley Johnson and T.J. McConnell are probably the next two guys behind him. McConnell may be the best floor general in the country, running the team on both ends with a high level of efficiency. He dominated Utah in the first half last time out. Then Stanley Johnson dominated the second half. The freshman (who will likely be a top 5 pick in the upcoming draft) went for 18 in the second frame back in January, turning a close game into a blowout. He's averaging 14.2 point and 6.6 rebounds as a 6-7, 245 pound shooting guard.
Jordan Loveridge and Chris Reyes had their most effective game as a duo on Thursday against Arizona State. Can they build on it against the physical Wildcats? May take some early Loveridge 3-balls to get him going and keep the confidence high. Reyes' will have a touch match-up slowing down the versatile Brandon Ashley.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is the human pogo-stick. He's a high flying, long armed athlete that is arguably the top defensive player in the country. He'll guard anywhere from a 1 to 4 and will get most of the assignments on Delon Wright. Hits the offensive glass hard and is a put-back and dunk machine. Brandon Ashley tends to got lost in the shuffle sometimes, but is Arizona's rock at the power forward spot. He's got an inside-out game that has him averaging 11.3 points and 5.4 rebounds per contest.
Alright, Jakob. It's time to show that you can have a big game against a high level center, stay out of foul trouble, and post a double-double.
Kaleb Tarczewski has played well of late, posting 14+ points in three of this last five games. He's very physical on the defensive end and is the kind of guy that has given Poeltl trouble so far this year.
Utah had 6 different players score off of the bench on Thursday, including 4 guys that pitched in 5 or more points. That's depth.
Arizona has depth as well. Gabe York has never seen a 3 point shot he didn't like and can really get into a groove. Dusan Ristic is a 7 foot Serbian that spells Tarczewski at times. He's actually 4 for 5 from deep this season. Elliott Pitts is another sharp-shooter for the 'Cats while freshman Parker Jackson-Cartwright averages 3 per game.
Two elite teams, both with Final 4 aspirations. A Pac 12 regular season championship and a the top seed in the conference tournament still up for grabs. This is the one we've been waiting for since Arizona pasted Utah down in the desert. Now, they roll the ball out at the Huntsman Center, a place that has been more than unkind to Utah opponents. Arizona is more talented. Utah has the best player. This will be a back and forth game that will be decided by the team that is able to put together more small runs. With the crowd backing them, Delon Wright closes out his home career with a close win that puts the Utes in a position to grab a 2 seed.
Utah 69 Arizona 67
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