Duel in the Desert Preview: Arizona State at Arizona

Jan 16, 2014, 4:15 PM | Updated: 4:15 pm

The next chapter of the Duel in the Desert rivalry is upon us, and this time it’ll take place on the basketball court.

Arizona State travels to Tucson to take on the No. 1 Arizona Wildcats Thursday at 7 p.m. in Tucson, but both teams have a different look from the ones that saw UA sweep last year’s season series.

The Wildcats have added standout freshmen Aaron Gordon and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, as well as a true point guard in T.J. McConnell, while ASU is enjoying the addition of transfers Jermaine Marshall and Shaquielle McKissic to play alongside standout guard Jahii Carson.

Arizona owns a 49-22 edge since the 1979-80 season, and the Wildcats (17-0, 4-0 Pac-12) — off to the best start in school history and the No. 1 ranked team for six weeks and counting — have the clear advantage in the game.

Still, the revamped Sun Devils (13-4, 2-2) are far from a pushover. Here’s a look at the keys to the game for both sides:


Arizona guard Mark Lyons, left, collides with Arizona State's Jonathan Gilling (31) as he drives to the basket during the first half of an NCAA basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)
Arizona forward Solomon Hill, left, makes a move to the basket past Arizona State's Carrick Felix during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)
Arizona head coach Sean Miller looks for an explanation from an official on a call in favor of Arizona State during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)
Arizona forward Grant Jerrett (33) shoots over the defense of Arizona State's Ruslan Pateev during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)
Arizona center Kaleb Tarczewski (35) battles for a rebound under the basket with Arizona State's Carrick Felix, front, and Jordan Bachynski during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)
Arizona guard Mark Lyons, left, dribbles past the defense Arizona State's Evan Gordon during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)
Arizona State head coach Herb Sendek ducks to avoid being hit with an errant basketball during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Arizona, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)
Arizona State's Jahii Carson (1) collides with Arizona's Grant Jerrett (33) as he tries to advance the ball up-court during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013, in Tempe, Ariz. Arizona won 71-54. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)
Arizona head coach Sean Miller tries to get the attention of his players through the bodies of Arizona State's Evan Gordon (10) and Jordan Bachynski during the half of an NCAA basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013, in Tempe, Ariz. Arizona won 71-54. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)
Arizona guard Nick Johnson (13) celebrates a three-point basket by a teammate against Arizona State during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013, in Tempe, Ariz. Arizona won 71-54. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)
Arizona guard Mark Lyons, right, looks to drive the baseline around Arizona State's Evan Gordon during the first half of an NCAA basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013, in Tempe, Ariz. Arizona won the game 71-54. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)
Arizona head coach Sean Miller raises his arms out as he looks to an official for a non-call against Arizona State during the second half of an NCAA basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013, in Tempe, Ariz. Arizona won the game 71-54. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)
Arizona's Mark Lyons (2) and Nick Johnson (13) walk down the court with the game well in hand and two-minutes left against Arizona State during the second half of an NCAA basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013, in Tempe, Ariz. Arizona won 71-54. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)
Arizona's Solomon Hill (44) congratulates teammates Kevin Parrom, left, Kaleb Tarczewski (35) and Nick Johnson, right, as they walk off the court during a timeout against Arizona State late in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013, in Tempe, Ariz. Arizona won the game 71-54. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)
A young Arizona fan watches the action against Arizona State from high above at Wells Fargo Arena during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013, in Tempe, Ariz. Arizona won the game 71-54. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)
Arizona State head coach Herb Sendek argues with an official about a foul during the first half of an NCAA basketball game against Arizona, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013, in Tempe, Ariz. Arizona won the game 71-54. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)
Arizona forward Kevin Parrom, center, drives to the basket past Arizona State's Ruslan Pateev, left, during the second half of an NCAA basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013, in Tempe, Ariz. Arizona won 71-54. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)

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