Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — It's been more than a year now since the Utah Utes have won a game outside the Huntsman Center. The skid began during the ill-fated Jim Boylen era and has extended throughout the 2011-12 season.
It's reached 15 games overall, dating back to a 62-60 win at New Mexico on Feb. 19, 2011.
The drought, though, isn't consuming Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak as he prepares the Utes for road games at Oregon State on Thursday and Oregon on Saturday. The Pac-12 tournament is the following week at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
"It's daunting going on the road, but everybody struggles on the road," Krystkowiak said, while noting that a review of the conference standings backs it up. "So I think it's relative. There's a lot to be said about sleeping in your own bed. You have to be a special team to win games on the road."
It's a combination of things, he explained, like being mentally and physically prepared, along with possessing the skill to get in a position to win.
Entering the final week of the regular season, only four Pac-12 teams (Washington, California, Arizona and Oregon) have winning conference records on the road. Colorado, Stanford and UCLA have three wins away from home, while Oregon State has two. Arizona State and Washington State are next with one. Utah and USC are winless.
"So it's evidenced by the rest of our league that everybody has their woes," Krystkowiak said.
As such, the Utes aren't dwelling on the big picture. They're focused on playing well at Oregon State.
"You control what you can. It's the next game and we're trying to figure out a way to guard them, not turn the ball over and put ourselves in a position," Krystkowiak said. "But we're not going to make it a bigger deal than it's been internally. It still comes down to playing basketball."
Breaking through on the road, however, would be a big deal for a Utah team coming off a thrilling 58-57 win over Stanford on Saturday.
Junior center Jason Washburn said it would "absolutely" mean something to end the road skid.
"As long as there's another opportunity it's on the 'to do' list. As long as there's another second left to play on our away games it's another chance to get a road win," Washburn said. "That's how we've got to take it. That's how we've got to embrace it. Hopefully it works out in our favor and we come home with a road win under our belt."
Utes on the air
Utah (6-22, 3-13 Pac-12)
at Oregon State (15-13, 5-11)
Thursday, 8 p.m. MT
Gill Coliseum, Corvallis, Ore.
TV: none Radio: 700 AM
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