Spenser Heaps,
Utah Utes guard Justin Bibbins (1) drives against the California Golden Bears at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018.

No. 2 Utah (20-11) vs. No. 3 LSU (18-14)

THE BASICS

Monday, 7 p.m. MST

Huntsman Center (15,000)

Salt Lake City

TV: ESPNU

Livestream: WatchESPN

Radio: ESPN 700 AM

THE STAKES

For LSU … In their first season under head coach Will Wade, the Tigers have already improved on their 2017 campaign merely by securing a spot in the NIT. A victory over Utah would ensure the Tigers their first quarterfinals berth in a postseason tournament since the 2005-2006 season.

For Utah … A victory over LSU would advance the Utes to the NIT quarterfinals, and pit them against the winner of St. Mary's and Washington's second-round contest. A win would also mark the deepest postseason run for Utah since the 2014-2015 season when the Utes lost to Duke in the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament.

THE TRENDS

For LSU … After losing to the Mississippi State Bulldogs 80-77 in the second round of the SEC tournament, the Tigers responded by beating the Louisiana Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns 84-76 in the first round of the NIT.

For Utah … The Utes lost to Oregon 68-66 in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 tournament. In the opening round of the NIT, Utah trailed UC Davis after the opening period, as well as halftime, before rallying to defeat the Aggies 69-59.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Justin Bibbins, Utah guard ... The diminutive point guard is coming off of an impressive performance against UC Davis. Bibbins scored a game-high 21 points, nine of which came from behind the arc. He also grabbed six rebounds and had two assists and a steal in the victory.

Duop Reath, LSU forward ... The senior was excellent in the win over Louisiana Lafayette with 26 points and 11 rebounds, as well as four blocks and two steals. Reath hit 10-of-14 field goals, including two 3-pointers and all four of his free-throw attempts.

QUOTABLE

“It’s been a program that I’ve respected and they’re part of a conference that’s highly respected. The games I’ve watched, they’re a great team. They’ve got a lot of pieces — big-time athletes inside and a couple of the best guards that we’ll have faced all year.” — Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak

“(Utah is) a very good ball club. Very good defensively... They are a good team. They don’t compare to anybody that I have seen. There is no easy comparison in the SEC to what they do or how they play. They are a good ball club and it will be a big challenge for us, especially on the road.” — LSU coach Will Wade