Preview: No. 16 Arizona Basketball takes on rival Arizona State

It is finally that time of year again when Arizona Basketball (15-2, 4-0) takes on rival ASU (9-8, 2-2). Now it is time to break down the match-up between these teams.

It has been a great start for the Wildcats, all things considered. The Arizona Basketball team looks to keep building on their early successes as they take on rival ASU this Thursday.

Always a fun matchup when these two teams meet, as it brings out a lot of emotion for everyone involved. Last year, the Wildcats won both match-ups in Bobby Hurley’s first year with the Sun Devils, by a combined 50 points.

Along with that, the loss for ASU in Tempe came along with a Techincal foul and ejection of the Sun Devil’s coach. Wildcats fans had a ton of fun with meme’s, tweets and social media banter following the incident. Even the ZonaZoo got involved, making a fat head of the coach in the midst of getting ejected to use to provoke their rivals.

After the game, the fans who tagged Hurley and continued the taunting were blocked by his Twitter account, it became a badge of honor for Wildcats fans. Zona Zealots obliged by writing a guide to getting blocked, as we were one of the casualties.

At 9-8 (2-2) on the season, the Sun Devils will have their hands full in this year, even if the Wildcats are to be still without sophomore Allonzo Trier.

The Sun Devils are coming off back-to-back splits in their first four games of conference play. After returning home from the Bay Area, ASU won a thriller vs. Colorado, as Tra Holder hit two late free throws to seal the win.

Following their exciting win over the Buffaloes on Thursday, ASU head coach Bobby Hurley had this to say to his team:

“If anyone wants a win here, they better go to [F-expletive] Tucson!” Quite the choice words for a coach who has yet to beat his rival, or at the very least has lost more than one game at away in their arena in the past four seasons.

“If anyone wants a win here, they better go to [expletive] Tucson!”

There is no love lost between the two programs, and as Arizona and ASU are about to meet for the 232nd time, we imagine there will still not be much love between the two schools. Perhaps even worse for the Sun Devils (other than playing at the always challenging McKale Center venue), Hurley’s comments last week could rile up Arizona, as ASU travels to Tucson.

Miller isn’t paying much attention to Hurley’s comments, and he basically understands Bobby has to get his team riled up. Bruce Pascoe reported as much:

Miller said he hasn’t seen the video clip of Bobby Hurley saying teams traveling to Arizona must go to “(bleeping) Tucson” if they want to get a win, though he said “a lot of people have told me about it.”

.. [Miller] basically said Hurley was just doing his job. Miller said it doesn’t think it was a derogatory statement toward UA.

“The challenge as a coach is to have your team ready to play,” Miller said. “There’s a lot of different ways to go about that.”

The Sun Devils will have to rely heavily on Torian Graham, Tra Holder, and Shannon Evans II if they hope to topple the Wildcats. Holding back Holder will be key to the Wildcats win, he is averaging 16.7 points, 3.83 rebounds, and 3.3 assists. Not only that but he makes plays to charge up his team and kept the Sun Devils in the Utah game when it seemed all was lost. In the end, ASU suffered another loss to Utah and is hungry for a win.

Apparently, their coach and the team feel beating the Arizona Wildcats is easier than some think.

Here’s more information on where you can watch the game:

Date: Thursday, January 12th

Time: 7:00pm MST, 6:00pm PST

Location: McKale Memorial Center (14,655)

Line: TBD

Television: ESPN2

Radio: Arizona IMG Sports Network Arizona Wildcats (Try TuneIn Radio)

Team Records:

  • Arizona Wildcats (15-2, 4-0):  lost to No. 13 Butler and No. 7 Gonzaga on neutral courts, and currently, the Wildcats possess a nine-game winning streak.
  • Arizona State Sun Devils (9-8, 2-2): After beating teams like San Diego State and UNLV in non-conference play, the Sun Devils have started their Pac-12 slate at 2-2 with losses coming to Utah and Cal.

Series Record: Arizona leads 148-83 all-time, with the Wildcats winning the last match-up between these two teams by a 99-61 final in Tucson. Arizona currently holds a two-game win streak.

We’re excited for it to be rivalry week and can’t wait to watch the Wildcats take on the Sun Devils again. Hopefully, Arizona can continue their streak against their rivals, and show Hurley it’s not so easy to win in Tucson after all. Bear Down, Arizona!

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