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Matt Piper and Kyle Goon
Matt Piper and Kyle Goon cover University of Utah sports teams for The Salt Lake Tribune. Matt Piper is on twitter at @matthew_piper, Kyle Goon is on twitter at @kylegoon

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Utes heavy underdogs tonight, despite beating ASU already

The Utes already have a win against Arizona State, an extreme 21-point wipeout that left the home team with a rare feeling of satisfaction.

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Why, then, is Utah generally listed as anywhere up to a 13-point underdog.

The Utes' lack of road success is a good reason. Trent Lockett is another.

Utah hasn't won on the road since last February, when Chris Hines hit a 3-pointer to beat New Mexico in The Pit. Lockett, meanwhile, is the ASU guard who hasn't played for four weeks due to an injured ankle. He's expected to play tonight.

The game is scheduled for 7 p.m. and can be seen on FSN Arizona, which it sounds like some people in these parts get.

By the way, before we veer to far from Hines. If you haven't seen it, here's a story we had today on Hines. It's about much more than basketball.

ASU has lost five of its last six games, and the Utes are 0-4 since beating the Sun Devils on Jan. 21.

If the Utes are going to win a road game this season, this may be the best chance.

"We're familiar with them," Larry Krystkowiak said. "It's still kind of a new slate, we can't take any of the prizes from winning the first game"

In that game, Cedric Martin led the Utes with 17 points in that game and Hines had 14. It was just the Utes' second game without Josh "Jiggy" Watkins.

Krystkowiak said the Utes were able to roll over ASU as much because of the Sun Devils' poor shooting as their own good shooting.

ASU made just 17 shots, while the Utes shot better than 50 percent from the field and on 3-pointers against the Sun Devils' zone defense.

Martin said the Utes match up well with the Sun Devils.

"We're feeling pretty confident against Arizona State," he said, "just for the fact that we already beat them. But we can't take them for granted because they didn't have one of their best players."

Krystkowiak said the Utes will need more than jumpers this time around. On Jan. 21, the Utes made nine 3-pointers.

"It's important for us to realize that it's not all about jump shots against the zone," he said. "We can't live and die by them. We have to have an inside presence and get a combination of both."

— Bill Oram



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