We hope the people that are unable to come to the games will maybe share their tickets with somebody else so we can support our team. —Utah athletics director Chris Hill
SALT LAKE CITY — Utah's basketball program has now been in the Pac-12 for one-and-a-half seasons. On Sunday, another new era begins.
For the first time in the history of the men’s program, the Utes will play a Sunday home game. Tipoff against Stanford is set for 7 p.m.
“The reality is we’re very aware of how difficult this will be for some of our fans. We make every concerted effort to try to accommodate — as best we can — to work at not having Sunday games,” said Utah athletics director Chris Hill. “But we’re part of the league. We’re full members of the league. And we want to make sure we do what’s best for us and the entire league.”
The game will be broadcast on the new Pac-12 Networks, as will another Sunday contest from the Huntsman Center — Feb. 17 against Arizona (1 p.m.).
“We’ll continue to try to do the best we can to minimize the effects of this,” Hill said of the Sunday dates. “We hope the people that are unable to come to the games will maybe share their tickets with somebody else so we can support our team.”
To address the problem, Utah officials have implemented a plan for season ticket holders to swap their seats because of any conflicts (not just the Sunday games) for extra tickets to other games.
Even so, it remains to be seen just how many people will be on hand when the Utes take on the Cardinal.
Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak acknowledged the Utes are curious to find out.
“(When) the league schedule comes out, we don’t have a whole lot to say in terms of time or who or when or where,” Krystkowiak said. “Hopefully it will be an opportunity to get a win and it’s not that late on Sunday night in terms of getting some of the kids to school the next morning.
“One thing about it is you know there’s not a lot of other things going on that evening,” he continued. “So if we can dangle it out there a little bit that there’s a product to come out and watch play, hopefully we can do that.”
Life in the Pac-12, thus far, has been tough sledding for the Utes. Since joining the conference last season, they’re just 4-22 in league games (including a tournament loss to Colorado).
Although Utah picked up an upset victory last week at Washington, the Utes are 0-3 in Pac-12 games at home this year. They dropped a 62-57 decision to California on Thursday.
EXTRA STUFF: Utah leads the all-time series with Stanford by a 15-8 margin. The teams split two games last season, both winning at home. The Cardinal won the first meeting 68-65 and the Utes took the rematch 58-57. ... Stanford is coming off a 75-54 loss at Colorado on Thursday. ... The Cardinal are led by junior forwards Dwight Powell (14.7 ppg, 7.6 rpg) and Josh Huestis (8.8 ppg, 9 rpg), as well as sophomore guard Chasson Randall (13.6 ppg).
Stanford (11-8, 2-4) at Utah (9-10, 1-6)
Sunday, 7 p.m.
TV: Pac-12 Networks
Radio: ESPN 700AM