Utes infiltrate McKale Center
After tying former head coach Lute Olson’s 19-game winning streak to continue its illustrious undefeated season, the men’s basketball team has an opportunity to best it on Sunday night. The Wildcats are now within striking distance of James “Pop” McKale’s all-time school record of 22-0 (which was set over multiple seasons).
Arizona (19-0, 6-0 Pac-12 Conference) hosts conference rival Utah (14-5, 3-4 Pac-12) Sunday at 6 p.m. on Fox Sports 1.
Headed into Thursday, the Utes were ranked No. 3 in the country with a 19.9 scoring margin.
While Utah leads Arizona 28-25 in the all-time series, the Wildcats have been a dominating force recently, and in each of the past seven matchups with Utah, Arizona has come out undefeated. Additionally, the Utes have dropped 10 of their last 11 contests to the Wildcats.
Utah’s most recent win against the UA came in the 1998 Elite Eight, when they upset the defending national champions to move on to the Final Four.
The Utes’ last win in Tucson came in 1986.
Who to watch out for:
Jordan Loveridge — sophomore forward (#21) 6-foot-6; 210 pounds
Averaging a team-leading 16.4 points and 8.2 rebounds going into Thursday’s game.
Last season, Loveridge led Utah’s hard-fought attack in the Utes’ 60-57 loss against then-No. 3 Arizona. The West Jordan, Utah, native scored 17 points and compiled four rebounds in the game.
Loveridge became Utah’s first Pac-12 Player of the Week selection for his performances the week of Dec. 2-8.
Delon Wright — junior guard (#55) 6-foot-5; 178 pounds
Wright averages a team-leading 5.22 assists per game while shooting with a team-high 63.5 percent accuracy from the field.
Two weeks ago, Wright, a transfer out of the City College of San Francisco, became the Utes’ second conference player of the week selection, following in Loveridge’s footsteps. Going into this week’s games, he was in possession of the Pac-12’s best field goal percentage (.635) and he ranks among the top 15 in rebounds (No. 12), scoring (No. 6), assists (No. 5), blocks (No. 4) and steals (No. 1).
Brandon Taylor — sophomore guard (#11) 5-foot-10; 165 pounds
Averaging 10.6 points and 3.9 assists per game while shooting 30-for-35 (85.7 percent) from the free-throw line.
Last year as a true freshman, Taylor played in 29 games, starting the season’s final 13 contests. He ranked second in the conference with a .420 3-point percentage, compiled double digits 11 times and led the team in scoring four times. Taylor and Wright each scored 12 points in the matchup against UCLA.
Dakarai Tucker — sophomore guard/forward (#14) 6-foot-5; 189 pounds
Averaging 8 points and 2.4 rebounds per game while successfully converting over 80 percent of potential free throw attempts.
*Dallin Bachynski — junior center (#31) 7-foot; 258 pounds *
Averaging 5.9 points and 4.9 rebounds per game while shooting 31-for-49 (63.2 percent) from the floor.
—Follow Evan Rosenfeld @EvanRosenfeld17