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Arizona basketball roundtable: On the Mountain trip in the Pac-12, and remembering the ASU game

Is Arizona embarking on the toughest road trip of the year?

Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

After an extremely impressive four weeks, the Arizona Wildcats are headed out to the mountains this week to take on the Colorado Buffaloes and Utah Utes.

Is this the toughest weekend for any Pac-12 team? We discuss that and last week's win over ASU in this week's roundtable:

Jason Bartel: Is the Mountain trip the toughest in the Pac-12?

Alec Sills-Trausch: I would say so. While Arizona unimpressively faltered on the road in Los Angeles, I believe Utah and Colorado are the best duo of opponents any road trip has to offer. Plus, when you factor in acclimating to the elevation, it poses even more problems. Furthermore, Colorado and Utah have quickly become a rivalry many wouldn't have expected to arise so soon. A sweep against these schools could put the icing on the cake for another regular season conference title (remember, we do Co-Champions in this league, tie breakers only affect the Pac-12 Tournament seedings). Luckily for Arizona, it's a Wednesday/Saturday schedule which means they will have plenty of time to acclimate prior to the Utah tipoff.

Brandon Hill: This is mostly cyclical. The SoCal trip is usually tough. The Bay area trip in years past has been really tough. When Tony Bennett was at Wazzu the Washington trip was a bear. I would agree though that the Mountain trip is now perhaps the toughest, not only due to elevation but because the schools aren't as closely located as the other pairings in the league (over 500 miles between campuses) so it creates a unique travel situation. Utah is a team that likes to grind and can beat Arizona at its own game. Colorado is a solid team annually under Tad Boyle and there's some history there with the infamous waved-off buzzer beater from 2013. In 2016, this is the toughest pairing to navigate.

Matt Sheeley: This season? Absolutely. It's the only trip, except maybe an Oregon trip, that includes two NCAA tournament worthy teams. And Arizona was scheduled to avoid the Oregon road trip this year. Brandon is right, though, it is cyclical. Each road trip tends to take its turn as the toughest in the conference. Although this trip does include an element that no other Pac-12 road trip does: The elevation. I don't believe we have seen that affect an Arizona team over the years of this road trip yet but it's something to keep an eye on.

David Potts: At this point, yes. Since joining the Pac-12, Utah has gone from one of the worst teams in the conference to one of the best and is (for now) one of the top teams in the conference. Colorado, meanwhile, has been solid throughout their tenure in the Pac-12. This year is actually the clearest example - the Mountain road trip is the only road trip in the Pac-12 where both teams are above .500 in conference play. That's dangerous.

Gabe Encinas: I've always thought that the Rocky Mountain road trip is one of the toughest road trips in the nation. For whatever reason, Arizona has had Utah's number but that's not to say the games haven't been close. Colorado seems to usually be a mixed bag, but they have the ability to play up. I do think that the Arizona road trip has the potential to be the second-toughest road trip, to put the Rocky Mountain trip into perspective.

Ryan Kelapire: This season, yes. It's really the only road trip in the league where you play two above-average Pac-12 teams (maybe the Oregon road trip counts?). Not to mention that Colorado and Utah are two of the tougher road environments (behind McKale Center, of course).

JB: Could the ASU game have gone any better?

AST: Only if Arizona State hadn't scored in the first half...or the second half. Other than that, a 38 point victory and the first sweep over the Sun Devils in three seasons (it seems longer) made for a pretty great game. Plus, we were handed so many great shots of Bobby Hurley with his head in his hands. Priceless!

BH: Nope. Per game BPI, which accounts for site, margin, pace, and opponent strength, on a 0-100 scale, Arizona had a 99.2 rating (tied with the Washington game in Tucson for highest of the season). If you want to see what "firing on all cylinders" looks like, this was it.

MS: No. It was the best Arizona has played all season and their most complete game on both sides of the ball. Quite frankly, the fact that it came against that particular opponent is just the icing on top.

DP: The only way it maybe could have gone better is if the Wildcats scored 100. Beyond that, it was perfect. It was Arizona's second biggest margin of victory this season (only the 55-point win against NAU was bigger) and the team finally looked like a contender.

GE: I had an accounting exam the next day so I tuned out after the first media timeout in the first half. Looks like I didn't miss much. All things given, it was pretty solid. Sure, Arizona State had that run to tie the game up in the low 20's and keep it tight, but that's going to happen in college basketball. Overall, pretty solid performance, but given the amount of talent, or lack thereof, on Arizona State's roster, that's exactly what you should be able to expect, especially with Arizona trending upwards right now.

RK: Yes; it would've been better if Bobby Hurley was ejected. Other than that, there isn't really anything to complain about.