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Series history

In Arizona’s only matchup against Utah Valley, the Wildcats rolled to an 87-56 win at McKale Center in 2014. The Wildcats utilized their freshmen, including Parker Jackson-Cartwright (seven points, three assists and one turnover), Dusan Ristic (13 points and seven rebounds) and Craig Victor (six points and two blocks).

Game contract

Arizona is paying Utah Valley $90,000 to make a one-time appearance at McKale Center.

Utah Valley overview

The Wolverines were one of Division I’s worst teams when they last visited Tucson, going on to win only 11 games that year. But coach Mark Pope took over after that season, and the Wolverines won 23 games in 2017-18 to finish second in the WAC. However, they lost three starters off that team, including all-league pick Kenneth Ogbe. This season, preseason all-WAC picks Conner Toolson and Jake Toolson are back, and the second cousins have led them to six wins so far, including over Hartford and Long Beach State in the MGM Main Event at Las Vegas last month.

Conner Toolson is a problem on both ends of the floor, hitting 62.2 percent of his two-pointers against Division I teams while collecting a steal on 3.0 percent of the possessions he defends. Jake Toolson hits 51.1 percent of his 3-pointers, while juco transfer Isaac White is a versatile and hard-playing forward who can also play inside or out.

The Wolverines emphasize cutting and passing to create good 3-point opportunities, usually with four players on the floor who can shoot from long range, and hit 39.3 percent as a team from 3. Inside, Eastern Michigan transfer Baylee Steele brings physicality and size at 6-11 and 245 pounds.

The Wolverines have four players from Arizona: Jake Toolson and Wyatt Lowell are from Gilbert, backup guard Drew Cotton played for Mountain View High School in Tucson and Connor MacDougall is a well-traveled forward from Tempe who has stopped at ASU, New Mexico and Phoenix’s South Mountain CC.

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