The Utes' 77-51 loss to Arizona in the Huntsman Center was one of their most memorable for this reason: The image of Cedric Martin, blacked out, lying flat on the court, then struggling to his legs, taking a few steps and sitting back down.
Talk about a metaphor for a season.
Utah basketball (5-19, 2-10 Pac-12) in its first year under Larry Krystkowiak has made progress, but when it does rise it has been unable to maintain that level.
Before losing to Arizona on Jan. 19, the Utes beat Arizona State. Now, they hope to flip those two: After losing to Arizona State 57-52 on Thursday in Tempe, they're aiming to even the season series against Arizona and pick up their first road win since Feb. 19, 2011.
It's well documented that the Utes could use some road work.
"We get on the road and a couple things go against us, and we have a tendency to display a different demeanor," Krystkowiak said earlier this week. "And at home a couple plays go against us, and we continue to fight."
At Arizona, the Utes will find themselves in one of the Pac-12's most hostile environments. The Wildcats (17-8, 8-4) average 13,785 fans per game, and only Oregon and Washington have been able to win there this year in Pac-12 games. Martin will also again have the opportunity to play against Arizona's best player, Solomon Hill. Hill was ejected on Jan. 19 after violently swinging his elbow and cracking the Utes' junior guard in the skull, sending him to the floor.
When reminded of the incident, which left Martin woozy but with no real damage, Martin was in good humor.
"I'm not going to try to go into that game with the mindset I'm out to get him back," he said. "I wouldn't mind getting physical with him again and him hitting me again and getting kicked out, though."
Utah at Arizona
P At McKale Center (Tucson, Ariz.)
Tipoff • Saturday, noon
TV • ROOT Sports
Radio • 700 AM
Records • Utah 5-19 (2-10), Arizona (17-8, 8-4)
Series record • Utah 26-18
Last meeting • Arizona 77-51 (Jan. 19)
About the Utes • The Utes lost 57-52 at Arizona State on Thursday. … Jason Washburn leads the Utes with 10.2 points and 6.2 rebounds. … Cedric Martin is averaging 8.8 points per game in conference play. … Freshman point guard Kareem Storey made a 3-pointer in the final minute at ASU. Entering that game, he had made just 2 of his past 24 3-pointers.
About the Wildcats • Kyle Fogg leads the Wildcats with 12.6 points per game, while forward Solomon Hill averages 12.5 points and 8.2 rebounds. … The Wildcats have won three straight games against conference leaders Cal, Stanford and Colorado.