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Utah Utes basketball notebook: Utes have lost big before, but traditionally it was against tougher teams

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 3 2012 7:40 p.m. MST

SALT LAKE CITY — As bad as Utah's loss to Colorado was Saturday, it wasn't that far off other bad losses in Ute history, even some in the past decade.

Who can forget the 32-point loss to Connecticut in the Preseason NIT in 2003 when Andrew Bogut could only help the Utes score 44 points? How about the 73-43 loss to Arizona at home in 2005, the worst loss in Huntsman Center history to that point?

Of course, a big difference was the strength of the opponents. UConn was ranked No. 1 in the country when it beat the Utes in New York in Rick Majerus' final year while Arizona was ranked No. 24 in December of '05.

We'll see how good Colorado can be, but the Buffaloes might be doing well to finish in the top half of a weak Pac-12 this year,

PAC-12 ISN'T THE MWC: If the Utes think playing in the Pac-12 is a step up this year, they should be glad they aren't still in the Mountain West Conference.

According to the latest RealTime RPI rankings, the MWC has four teams ranked higher than the best of the Pac-12 teams.

The top Pac-12 team in the latest RealTime RPI ratings is Arizona at No. 47, which is behind MWC teams UNLV (12), Colorado State (40), San Diego State (42) and New Mexico (45).

Five other Pac-12 teams are in the top 100 with Cal at 54 Washington 75, Oregon 79, Stanford 84 and Colorado at 99.

Utah is ranked No. 293 out of 344 teams and the closest Pac-12 team to the Utes is Arizona State at No. 186.

NEXT UP: Utah's next chance at a victory comes Thursday night when Washington State visits the Huntsman Center.

The Utes have a 13-2 all-time record against the Cougars, including a 69-55 home victory in 2006.

The two losses were a 33-32 defeat at home back in 1946 and a 69-42 loss in Seattle in 2005 that was similar to the aforementioned bad Ute losses. In that game, the Utes fell behind 39-14 at halftime and trailed by as many as 30 points early in the second half.

INJURIES: One of the Utes' problems this year has been injuries, the biggest of which was David Foster's broken foot in the opening exhibition game of the season. Also starter Cedric Martin has been hobbling around with plantar fasciitis in his foot the last couple of weeks.

Another veteran who has missed a lot of time is Chris Hines, who had rib and elbow injuries early in the season and most recently has been suffering with a broken bone in his left thumb.

Hines didn't suit up for Saturday's game at Colorado but has practiced this week and could play this week against Washington State.

"He doesn't have as much pain," said Ute coach Larry Krystkowiak. "If he's not any worse, then it'll be great (and he can play)."

OLD HOME WEEK: Krystkowiak planned to go see his former team, the Milwaukee Bucks, play the Utah Jazz Tuesday night and he hoped to spend some time with former Ute Andrew Bogut, who didn't end up making the trip.

He said he hasn't kept in touch with the big man too much although his wife, Jan, has.

"My wife is big into the Facebook stuff," he said. "She does more Facebook with him than I do, but, yeah, we've got a pretty good bond."

Krystkowiak said he was impressed with how Bogut battled back last year after his devastating injury the previous year.

"He's a warrior, man," he said. "He battled through it and I don't think there are many players that would stick it out like he did last year. I've got a lot of respect for him."

Contributing: Dirk Facer

email: sor@desnews.com

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