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Pac-12: Can Utah upset Arizona?

First Published      Last Updated Mar 13 2014 10:08 am

The Utah Utes have competed favorably against the Pac-12's flagship program over three seasons, but haven't actually beaten Arizona.

Could it happen today in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 tournament in Las Vegas? Ernie Kent certainly gives the Utes a chance.

"Utah's defense will cause you problems," said Kent, a Pac-12 Networks analyst and former Oregon coach. "They are going to force Arizona to shoot the ball. [The Wildcats] will not get a lot done inside. Utah's bigs are good enough to bother Arizona's bigs inside."

The Utes are "playing at a high level, they have something to prove," Kent added.


p class="TEXT_w_Indent">The tournament's first round produced no upsets, so the top eight teams are playing in the quarterfinals at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Here's the schedule: No. 1 Arizona vs. No. 8 Utah, 1 p.m. MDT; No. 4 California vs. No. 5 Colorado, 3:30 p.m.; No. 2 UCLA vs. No. 7 Oregon, 7 p.m.; No. 3 Arizona State vs. No. 6 Stanford, 9:30 p.m.

The games should all be competitive. Kent wants to promote the matchups, of course, but he cites some advantage to having played a first-round game.

"When you can get one out of the way, it gets the nervousness, the butterflies away and takes the pressure off of you a little bit knowing that you've got one win and can play a little freer in the second game," he said.