Local Sports

Utes Face Critical Challenge in the Pacific Northwest

The Runnin’ Utes are rolling after knocking off Stanford and Cal last week at the Huntsman Center.  Those wins put them in a 4-way tie for 6th place in the Pac-12 with Arizona State, Colorado and Stanford, who all sit at 7-6 in Pac-12 play. The Utes knocked off Stanford (which was the big win) 75-60 and beat Cal pretty easily, 77-43.  David Collette went 15-16 from the field over those two games (6-6 against Stanford, 9-10 against Cal).  The Utes got back to playing great basketball after losing to Colorado the previous week.

Washington will be a tough matchup.  Head Coach Mike Hopkins has quickly turned around the Huskies and are in the NCAA tournament conversation right now.  They are currently 17-8 overall and 7-5 in the Pac-12, which is good for 4th place.  Some of their notable wins this season has been against Kansas, at USC, at ASU and at Arizona. A win in Seattle would be great for the Utes tournament resume. Although, the Huskies are coming off of 2 losses in Oregon to both the Ducks and the Beavers.  Jaylen Nowell is leading the Huskies with 16.5 points per game and Noah Dickerson is right behind him with 15.5 PPG.  The Utes will need to focus on breaking down their zone since that is what they run basically all the time.

Head Coach Larry Krystkowiak addressed the media at his weekly press conference to discuss the importance of beating Washington.

Now the matchup on Saturday with Washington State is completely different.  Utah could use a win over Washington to build their tournament resume but they absolutely can’t lose to Washington State or their tournament hopes are lost.  The Cougars are 9-15 overall and sitting in dead last in the Pac-12 at 1-11.  Their only conference win was against Cal.  Robert Franks is their leading scorer with almost 18 PPG, and Malachi Flynn averages 14.6 points per game.  As long as the Utes play their game and their style.  They should be just fine in Pullman.

Pregame coverage of Washington and Utah will begin at 6pm with a 7pm tipoff on ESPN 700.

Coverage in Pullman on Saturday will get underway at 7pm with an 8pm tip on ESPN 700.

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