Utah (6-2) at BYU (5-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 8, 9 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Marriott Center (22,700) -- Provo, Utah. Television: BYUtv. Home Record: Utah 5-1, BYU 4-0. Away Record: Utah 1-1, BYU 0-1. Neutral Record: Utah 0-0, BYU 1-2. Conference Record: Utah 0-0, BYU 0-0. Series Record: BYU leads, 128-125.
GAME NOTES: Former members of the Mountain West Conference and heated in-state rivals get together at the Marriott Center in Provo on Saturday, as the BYU Cougars and the Utah Runnin' Utes add another installment to their Desert Duel.
The Cougars were slated to take on another program from the Beehive State on Wednesday at home, but the team had that contest against Utah State postponed after an Aggies player collapsed during practice the day before, which means the meeting will be rescheduled for sometime later this season.
Consequently BYU, which now operates in the West Coast Conference for men's basketball, is coming off an 83-62 loss at Iowa State in its most recent outing last weekend. The defeat snapped what had been a three-game win streak for the Cougars.
As for the Runnin' Utes, a group which competes as a member of the Pac-12 Conference these days, they were just in action on Wednesday night versus Boise State and crushed the Broncos at home, 76-55. The win was the second straight and the fifth in the last six outings for the program.
The Utes also used the game on Wednesday to honor former head coach Rick Majerus who passed away last weekend. Majerus, who most recently coached the Saint Louis Billikens before taking leave due to a heart condition, led the Utes from 1989-2004, taking them to the NCAA championship game in 1998.
As far as the all-time series is concerned, these two programs are keenly familiar with each other after facing off a total of 252 times previously. According to its records, BYU leads by just three wins, 128-125. The Cougars won the most recent meeting by a score of 61-42 around this time last year.
Jarred DuBois scored 18 points as the Utah Runnin' Utes claimed a 21-point win over the Boise State Broncos in non-conference action at the Huntsman Center three nights ago. Also scoring in double figures for the Runnin' Utes were Jason Washburn and Jordan Loveridge with 13 and 11 points, respectively. Utah shot a staggering 15-of-20 from the floor in the first half, including 5-of-8 beyond the arc, and finished the contest at an incredible 67.5 percent overall and 9-of-16 out on the perimeter, which helped make up for the fact that the Utes turned the ball over 17 times and collected only three offensive rebounds. DuBois leads the team in scoring after eight games (he missed one) with his 16.0 ppg, stemming from a fantastic 52.0 percent accuracy beyond the arc. Loveridge (12.1 ppg), who leads the group on the glass with better than eight per game, would be wise to leave the long-distance shooting to someone like DuBois since he has connected on only 5-of-20 beyond the arc and as a result has lowered the entire team's accuracy to 37.6 percent.
Particularly in the first half at Hilton Coliseum against the Cyclones, the BYU defense was rather unimpressive as it allowed the hosts to shoot 51.7 percent from the floor, including 7-of-14 behind the three-point line. ISU was held without a three-point conversion in the second half (0-of-8), but by then the damage had been done. Brandon Davies scored a team-high 20 points for the visitors, adding six rebounds, three assists and a pair of steals, but the remaining starters combined to shoot only 7-of-22 from the floor. Matt Carlino accounted for 12 points off the bench as well for a group that turned the ball over 18 times and shot just 4-of-20 beyond the arc. Tyler Haws, who opened the season with six straight games with at least 20 points, had his worst game yet as he converted only 4-of-13 from the field for his nine points, yet he still leads the group in scoring with 20.9 ppg. Davies checks in with 18.8 ppg and 7.5 rpg in order to give BYU a fighting chance in the paint, but between he and Haws there have been 47 turnovers, an average of close to six per game.
The Cougars might be a bit rusty, but that shouldn't keep them from picking up another tough win at home over a familiar foe.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: BYU 73, Utah 68
12/08 10:30:58 ET