A look at things to watch this week in the Pac-12 Conference:
GAME OF THE WEEK: No. 4 Arizona State at Utah. The Sun Devils (12-1, 0-1) had their undefeated season come to an end with a six-point loss at Arizona last weekend and are looking to bounce back. Arizona State plays at Colorado before facing the Utes on Sunday, but the trip to Utah will likely be the tougher game. The Utes (10-3, 2-0) are coming off just the fourth sweep of the two Oregon schools since the Pac-12 was formed and the Hunstman Center is one of the conference’s most difficult road venues. No. 14 Arizona, the conference’s only other ranked team, also plays at Utah this week.
LOOKING AHEAD: This week features a pair of rivalry games in the Pac-12: Oregon at Oregon State on Friday, Washington at Washington State on Saturday. The Ducks (11-4, 1-1) had a good run through the nonconference schedule despite replacing five key players from last year’s Final Four team, but lost to the bigger schools it played. The Beavers (9-5, 1-1) opened conference play with a win over Colorado, then lost to Utah. Washington (11-4, 1-1) has the better team on paper than Washington State (8-6, 0-2), but rivalry games always bring out the best in the underdogs.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS: Arizona and Oregon each have won five straight true road games, tied for the sixth-longest streaks in Division I. … Despite being held to 78 points against Arizona, Arizona State is the Pac-12’s top scoring team at 90.7 points per game, more than seven points per game more than Arizona in second. …. USC’s Jordan McLaughlin is the conference’s assist leader with 8.0 per game. … Oregon’s Kenny Wooten (76) and Arizona State’s De’Quon Lake (74) are both shooting over 70 percent on the season.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Deandre Ayton, Arizona. The Wildcats’ freshman big man was named the Pac-12’s player of the week for the second time this season after scoring 23 points, grabbing 19 rebounds and blocking three shots in the ranked Wildcats’ 84-78 victory over rival Arizona State.
ON THE WOMEN’S SIDE: Oregon’s Sabrina Ionescu has made quite an impact in two seasons with the Ducks. The sophomore guard became the NCAA’s all-time triple-double leader with eight in just 48 games after posing 24 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists in a win over Washington. She’s averaging 18.9 points, 7.1 rebounds and 8.1 assists per game this season.
Compiled by AP Basketball Writer John Marshall in Phoenix.
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