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Utah Utes basketball: Runnin' Utes have piled up patsies on this year's preseason schedule — with good reason

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 13 2012 2:42 p.m. MST

“We’re not in a position where we need to try to dazzle anybody with RPI with big headliners in our preseason, because we’ve got 18 of them built into our league,’’ Krystkowiak said. “Seventeen of our games are against top 100 teams. Seven are against top 50. So when you start looking at our league and the challenge of our league, it kind of rearranges what you’re going to do in the preseason.’’

One disappointing thing for a lot of fans is the lack of games against in-state schools. Most would rather see an in-state school with local talent than a team they’ve never heard of from the Midwest.

The Utes have been playing Utah State for 100 years, Weber State for the past 35 and played Southern Utah every year for a decade until 2006. But none of those teams are on the schedule this year, nor are any other Utah schools such as Utah Valley, Westminster or Dixie State.

Krystkowiak said the contracts with USU and Weber State were finished and flat-out says, “I didn’t want to play them.’’

It comes back to not scheduling games you don’t have a great chance of winning and the Ute coach says his program is at that place right now.

“When you do a home-and-home with somebody you’d want to have a better chance to win on the road than going to Logan,’’ he said. “Anybody in their right mind is going to want to do that.’’

With a Pac-12 schedule that includes the likes of national powers UCLA and Arizona every year along with a bunch of other strong programs such as Cal, Stanford and Washington, the Utes may never have a great preseason schedule again. The teams coming in January and February are all name teams that used to be the highlight of any November and December schedule.

But Ute fans can be assured that this year’s non-conference slate will likely be the worst they’ll ever see.

“We’re in the building phases of our program,’’ says Krystkowiak. “There’s some times right around the corner when we’re going to be playing some bigger-name schools.’’

Email: sor@desnews.com

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