BYU Basketball Opens Vegas Showdown Against Future Big 12 Foe Arizona State
Nov 22, 2023, 2:08 PM
PROVO, Utah – BYU basketball is leaving the Marriott Center for the first time this season. The Cougars will be one of four teams participating in the 2023 Vegas Showdown (formerly Wooden Legacy Classic).
BYU’s first game in the Vegas Showdown will be against a future Big 12 Conference foe, Arizona State.
The Sun Devils join the Big 12 on August 2, 2024 next year.
It’s the 50th meeting all-time between the two programs that were once in the Western Athletic Conference together. BYU leads the all-time series 27-22.
The last BYU/Arizona State meeting on the hardwood took place in 2009 in Provo. BYU won that game 81-68.
BYU vs. Arizona State: How To Watch, Listen
Location: Michelob ULTRA Arena
City: Las Vegas, Nevada
Tip-Off: 10 p.m. (MT)/9 p.m. (PT)
Radio: KSL NewsRadio (102.7 FM, 1160 AM)
What you need to know about BYU Basketball
BYU comes into the Thanksgiving matchup against the Arizona State Sun Devils with a perfect 4-0 record. The Cougars boast the fourth-ranked scoring offense in the country at 95.5 points per game.
This season, all of BYU’s games have been played inside the Marriott Center, but they have dominated their competition. BYU is second in the nation in scoring margin, beating their opponents by an average of 39 points.
see you soon, Vegas✌️ pic.twitter.com/UeDi4ye6Z8
— BYU Men's Basketball (@BYUMBB) November 22, 2023
The large blowout victories, paired with an impressive win over San Diego State, have BYU surging up the KenPom ratings at No. 14. They are currently receiving votes in the AP Top 25 poll.
BYU has five players averaging double figures in scoring. Jaxson Robinson, who has not started in any games this season, leads BYU with 15.3 points per game. The Cougars have leaned into an identity of being a three-point shooting team.
They currently average 33 attempts from distance and are knocking down an average of 12.5 per contest through four games at home.
The big question is whether the early season success will continue away from the Marriott Center.
“I think we are good, and we’re figuring out who we are, then we’ll go see what we can do on Thursday,” said BYU coach Mark Pope. “I have a lot of faith in this group and we still have a ton of growing to do, like we have so much more growth to do. We have so many more experiences to experience together and learn from, but I think we have at this stage of the season –four games in, it’s like, who knows?– But I feel like we have a little bit of a sense of who we are and who we want to be.”
Get to know the Arizona State Sun Devils
Arizona State enters Thursday’s game on a two-game winning streak. They put together a comeback effort last week against UMass Lowell, where they were down by 11 points with 2:16 remaining and stormed back for the 71-69 victory.
2023 Vegas Showdown Bracket pic.twitter.com/oONcvCrXpm
— Mitch Harper (@Mitch_Harper) November 22, 2023
In the win over UMass Lowell, Sun Devils guard Jose Perez scored 20 points just a month after transferring into ASU from West Virginia.
The Sun Devils have a dynamic backcourt with Jamiya Neal and Frankie Collins, who are back from last year’s ASU team that lost to TCU in the round of 64 in the NCAA Tournament.
“We’re gonna go play this Arizona State team, which is, you know, one of the most talented teams that we will face all season,” said Pope. “I mean, man, you look at their personnel; it’s just this talent-laden group that’s incredibly skilled.”
Arizona State is 19th nationally in turnovers forced per game, creating 18.33 miscues by their opponents. BYU has taken care of the ball so far, being third nationally in assist/turnover ratio (2.36).
Big Men on Injury Report
Both teams are expected to be shorthanded in the frontcourt.
Arizona State is going to be without LSU transfer 7-footer Shawn Phillips. He leads the Sun Devils in rebounds through three games this season.
Arizona State center Shawn Phillips Jr. will miss “significant time” due to a foot injury, Bobby Hurley said.https://t.co/odCOT91C7W
— Arizona Sports (@AZSports) November 21, 2023
Sun Devil head coach Bobby Hurley told Arizona Sports’ Bickley & Marotta that Phillips is dealing with a mid-foot injury he suffered in the win against UMass Lowell on November 16.
Hurley didn’t put a timetable on when Phillips would return.
As for BYU’s frontcourt, the Cougars have been without Aly Khalifa, who is dealing with a knee injury. Khalifa had a protective knee sleeve during stretches in practice on Tuesday but didn’t participate in any 5-on-5 work.
The Cougars are also without UC Irvine transfer Dawson Baker, whom BYU coach Mark Pope said he hopes to have Baker back in December.
Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow Mitch’s coverage of BYU in the Big 12 Conference on X and Threads: @Mitch_Harper.
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