Utah basketball • Arizona will present even bigger challenges.
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Tempe, Ariz. • A night of sleep, a little film session and a lively three-hour practice was a good thing for Utah basketball on Thursday afternoon.
At the same time, not much was going to make Larry Krystkowiak feel better about the Utes' 55-54 near-miss at Arizona State on Wednesday night.
"To be honest, I feel worse than I felt immediately after the game," Krystkowiak said. "I was proud of the guys and how hard they played. But I'm upset that we didn't play great basketball offensively, and that we didn't shoot the ball well."
All of which leads to Saturday's matchup against Arizona. While there is a feeling that Utah let one slip away against the Sun Devils, going up against the third-ranked team in the country on the road presents a much different challenge.
In the Wildcats, the Utes will see the biggest and most athletic team they've faced all season. Arizona is a Final Four contender, and a team with multiple players capable of playing in the NBA with elite Pac-12 guys at multiple positions.
As well as Utah played defensively against Arizona State, the Utes will have to match that effort. And they will have to make shots as well.
"We know what we're up against," said freshman forward Jordan Loveridge. "But everyone is confident that we can go in there and be competitive. We're going to have to rebound, and box out and play well in each phase of the game. But we have to do that in every game."
In order to do so, the offense can't fail them. Jarred DuBois went 4-13 from the field against ASU. Loveridge struggled to a 3-of-11 night, and Glen Dean shot 2 of 7. The starting lineup as a whole went 18 of 50 against the Sun Devils, a statistic that can't repeat itself should Utah have a chance to win on Saturday.
"We had a good practice today," Krystkowiak said. "We got a lot done, and this group feels good about itself. I don't doubt at all that this group can go in there and make a game of it."
Utah at Arizona
P Saturday, 3 p.m.
TV • Pac-12 Network