Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
Utah Utes guard Sedrick Barefield (0) and Utah Utes guard Justin Bibbins (1) hug during a men's basketball game against the LSU Tigers at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City on Monday, March 19, 2018. Utah won 95-71.


THE BASICS


Wednesday, 8 p.m. MDT

McKeon Pavilion (3,500)

Moraga, California

TV: ESPN2

Livestream: WatchESPN

Radio: ESPN 700 AM, espn700sports.com


THE STAKES


For Saint Mary’s … The Gaels will be trying to advance to the NIT Final Four for the first time in school history. In 2016, Saint Mary’s lost to Valparaiso in the NIT quarterfinals.

For Utah … The Utes will attempt to advance to their first appearance in the NIT Final Four since 1992, when Utah narrowly lost to Notre Dame in the NIT semifinals. The Utes will also try to avenge their 2014 NIT first-round loss at Saint Mary’s.


THE TRENDS


For Saint Mary’s … The Gaels were defeated by BYU in the WCC tournament semifinals, but responded by obliterating Southeastern Louisiana 89-45 in the first round of the NIT, before winning a close game against Washington, defeating the Huskies 85-81.

For Utah … The No. 3-seeded Utes were handed a quarterfinal exit in the Pac-12 tournament after a first-round bye, losing 68-66 to Oregon. The Utes had a slow start against UC Davis in the first round of the NIT, but responded in the second half and beat the Aggies 69-59. Utah came out red-hot to open its second-round game against LSU. The Utes routed the Tigers, winning 95-71.


PLAYERS TO WATCH


Justin Bibbins, Utah guard … For a lot of Utah’s season, the Utes have gone as Bibbins goes. In the win over LSU, the 5-foot-8 senior point guard dropped in 16 points, including four 3-pointers. Bibbins also tallied five assists, two rebounds and a steal in the victory.

Jock Landale, Saint Mary’s center … Landale, a senior, is the focal point of Saint Mary’s offense. Landale is averaging 21.3 points per game and 10.1 rebounds per game. Against Washington, the 6-foot-11 center had 14 points, six rebounds and an assist.


QUOTABLE


“As fans of basketball, we dream of playing in Madison Square Garden. So it’s really motivating to make sure we go and get the win next game.” — Utah guard Sedrick Barefield

“We scrimmaged them (Utah) this year. I haven't watched them all year, but we played them early on and know their personnel. I'm familiar with their program, and they are tough, physical and well-coached.” — Saint Mary’s head coach Randy Bennett