SALT LAKE CITY — While Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott was visiting Salt Lake City mostly to talk to student-athletes and others about possible changes that could occur in their respective sport schedules, it was hard to not talk about the amazing success that the Pac-12 is having in basketball in the 2015-2016 season.

With three teams currently ranked in the AP top 25 and the USA Today top 25, and with seven teams in the top 32 of the RPI ranking, it is obvious that the Pac-12 is one of the best conferences in the country when it comes to college basketball.

Scott was clearly pleased with the conference and the strides it has made in recent years.

“I don’t feel our conference has been this deep since I’ve been here. We're in the strongest position we’ve been in since I’ve been here,” he said. “Our trajectory is going in the right direction in terms of the depth and competitiveness of Pac-12 basketball.”

Additionally, he expressed a lot of optimism for the NCAA Tournament this year. In 2015, the Pac-12 only had three teams in the tournament, and the conference’s last Final Four came in 2008 with Arizona.

While many Pac-12 teams often may not get the respect they deserve on a national scale, Scott said that is in the process of changing and that this year in the tournament the conference will provide some very solid teams that could be sleepers.

“I think our conference is really tough and deep, and in the regular season we beat each other up and we may not have the highest seeds but I think we are going to surprise some people and do very well,” Scott said.

Scott also praised Utah's rising basketball program.

“I’m glad to be here and see the support for Utah basketball, there is obviously a lot of support here and the trajectory of the program, which is fun to see,” he said.

DEJA VU

Thursday’s game was very similar to the Utes’ 2015 contest against Arizona State, which occurred only one day later in the year on Feb. 26. Thursday's game ended in an 81-46 win for the Utes, which is close to last year’s 83-41 blowout.

Offensively, 11 players saw minutes with no one playing more than 28 minutes on Thursday, while in the 2015 game 13 players got playing time with no one playing more than 25 minutes.

Defensively, in 2015 the Utes held the Sun Devils to 28 percent shooting and only 14 field goals. Compare that to Thursday night when Utah held Arizona State to 25 percent shooting and only 15 field goals, which were season lows for the Sun Devils in addition to total points (46).

STIFLING DEFENSE

In the Utes’ huge win Thursday night, they were particularly solid defensively.

In addition to holding Arizona State to some season lows, they only allowed 10 points in the first half, with the Sun Devils' first points coming five minutes into the game and their next points coming more than 10 minutes later.

“Going into this game we really wanted to focus on defense,” the Utes’ Brekott Chapman said. “Defense is going to be one thing we need to step up, and I felt like we did that tonight and it worked out with us.”

GAME NOTES:

With the win, the Utes improve to 31-20 in the all-time series against the Sun Devils, including a four-game winning streak. … Seven different Utes hit 3-pointers Thursday night as the Utes set season-highs in 3-pointers made and attempted with 16 and 40, respectively.