Utah Hoops: It’s Not Everyday…


Jan 23, 2014; Tucson, AZ, USA Arizona Wildcats guard Nick Johnson (13) reacts during the second half against the Colorado Buffaloes at McKale Center. Arizona won 69-57. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

…you play the #1 team in the nation.

So Utah heads to Tucson today to play the number one team in the nation, the Arizona Wildcats.  Arizona is 19-0, off to the best start in school history and tired for the most straight wins in school history.

To give Utah fans a little something to smile about, the last time they had won 19 straight was 1998, when it was ended by Utah in the Elite Eight.  And from a purely selfish/man crush point of view, this Arizona team reminds me A LOT of that Utah team.  This Arizona team defends extremely well.  They are also incredibly unselfish and their offensive spacing is nearly perfection.  If you have some time after today, just watch them play for the joy of watching great college basketball.

The other thing they do, is when things get tough, they know how to just grind out a victory.  They are nearly everything I loved about those late 90s Utah teams.

To give you guys a few things to watch for.  Their PG, T.J. McConnell is incredibly smart and a much better shooter than people think.  Nick Johnson has developed into a real driving force for this team and Aaron Gordon, their super freshman is doing a lot of things right, and not just trying to score.  But the fun guy to watch is Ronde Hollis-Jefferson.  Very Athletic, Ronde might give you four fouls in three minutes, might give you three of the best dunks you’ve ever seen.  He’ll be a star.

As for what to expect today.  I would guess Utah stays close with that ugly style they go to in games like this.  Close at least for a half.  Then at some point, our offense will bog down, Arizona will execute on four straight possession and that will be ball game.  Not exactly a crazy prediction I know.

Utah needs a road break through, but I don’t think it’s coming today.