Fresh from their best shooting performance in two months, the University of Utah's nationally ranked basketball team will meet San Diego State tonight in the Huntsman Center.
It will mark the second meeting between these teams. The Utes beat the Aztecs 68-62 on Jan. 5 in San Diego.Tonight's rematch, which is expected to draw a sellout crowd of 15,000, will begin at 7:35, as usual.
While Utah was beating Hawaii by 20 points Thursday night in Salt Lake City, San Diego State was losing to BYU by 20 points in Provo. The Aztecs are 9-11 overall, 4-6 in league play and looking for an upset of Utah, which the rest of the Western Athletic Conference would gladly welcome.
The Utes are 21-2 overall, 10-1 in WAC play and hold a two-game lead over runner-up BYU in the league standings.
It's been nine years since San Diego State last defeated Utah in Salt Lake City.
The Aztecs, who managed to upset Wyoming last week in San Diego, are led by 7-foot-1 center Marty Dow, who averages 17 points and 9 rebounds per game. The rest of the lineup consists of forwards Vern Thompson and Courtie Miller, who average about six points each, off-guard Arthur Massey, who averages 15 points per game, and point guard Ray Barefield.
"San Diego State has the big boy Dow, who is an outstanding player, someone the NBA teams are looking at," says Utah coach Rick Majers. "They have a veteran team that plays great defense, and they have an outstanding coach (Jim Brandenburg)."
The Utes continue to be one of the biggest surprises of the collegiate basketball season. According to one national publication, forward Josh Grant ranks as one of the nation's five most under-recognized players. The publication also cited Majerus for performing one of the five best coaching jobs this season.
Majerus has produced a record of 54-7 during the past three seasons as a head coach - the best record of any coach in the country during that time. In seven years as a head coach, Majerus is 123-56. He has won 25 of the 29 games he has coached at Utah.
The mark of all of Majerus' teams has been defense and rebounding. Opponents have shot just 41 percent from the field against Utah, and have been outrebounded by an average of six rebounds per game.
After failing to shoot 50 percent or better for 16 consecutive games, the Utes shot 59.6 percent Thursday against Hawaii. They also committed just nine turnovers.