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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

MBB Preview: No. 7 Arizona vs. ASU

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Jackie Cabrera

Arizona men’s basketball team’s head coach Tommy Lloyd talks to Kerr Kriisa during the game against the University of Colorado on Feb. 18 in McKale Center. The Wildcats went on to win the game 78-68.

Saturday will mark the final home game of the 2022-2023 season as the Arizona men’s basketball team will host ASU. Tommy Lloyd and the company will look to complete the regular season sweep after defeating the Sun Devils by 9 points a few months back.

The first meeting back in December was a tail of two halves. Interestingly enough, many people thought the Wildcats would blow the door open after leading by 18 points in the first half. Instead, ASU head coach Bobby Hurley cut the lead to two points midway through the second half. The Sun Devils brought immense pressure, trapping Arizona’s guards and causing turnovers during the second half.  Arizona’s guards will anticipate the same in the second meeting. Azuolas Tubelis led all scorers with 21 points and nine rebounds the last time the schools met.

The re-match will be a critical game for the Sun Devils. Entering the game, ASU sits as the fourth-best team in the PAC-12 standings. Ultimately, if the season ended today, Hurley’s group would receive a first-round bye for the PAC-12 tournament, as teams have just a few games left of the regular season. The Sun Devils have a 6-4 record away from Tempe.

The Wildcats are in a position for a first-round bye in Las Vegas. However, Arizona sits one and a half games back from UCLA for the top seed. Unfortunately, the Bruins control their own destiny and would still maintain the top spot even if Arizona steals a game in Pauley Pavilion next weekend. More importantly, the Wildcats are focused on building their resume for the NCAA tournament. Taking care of their home court is expected, as McKale Center is not friendly to opponents.

The Wildcats currently have a five-game winning streak against the Sun Devils. Arizona is 42-15 all-time against ASU when hosting the Sun Devils at McKale Center. Undoubtedly, the Sun Devils will be hungry to steal a game on the road Saturday afternoon. The arena will be a sea of red as fans are encouraged to wear Wildcat red. The game will be broadcasted on CBS at noon.


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