SALT LAKE CITY — Although Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak has a lot of experience facing Montana State as a player and coach during his days at Montana, the Bobcats aren’t foremost on his mind as the Utes prepare for Thursday’s meeting in the Huntsman Center.
“Right now my mindset is completely on us and not so much any opposition,” said Krystkowiak, who acknowledged that assistant coach Andy Hill has led the charge in terms of preparation for Montana State. “We’ve just got to fix what was broke (in Monday’s loss to No. 18 Butler) and get a handle on it and then keep moving forward.”
Krystkowiak was particularly concerned that the Utes allowed the Bulldogs to score 23 points off of 18 turnovers in the 68-59 setback.
“We were really sloppy,” Krystkowiak said.
Taking better care of the basketball is an obvious point of emphasis when the Utes return to action. They’re in the midst of a lengthy homestand that also includes a visit by Utah Valley on Tuesday. The first road trip of the season is a game at No. 7 Xavier on Dec. 10.
“I want our basketball team to improve as the season goes on,” Krystkowiak said.”I think we will do that.”
Junior forward Kyle Kuzma led Utah with 21 points and 10 rebounds against Butler (7-0).
Montana State comes to town with a 5-2 record. The Bobcats have wins over Louisiana-Lafayette, Rocky Mountain, James Madison, Delaware State and Arizona Christian. They’ve lost road games at Washington State and Rice.
Sophomore Tyler Hall is Montana State’s top scorer. The guard averages 22.8 points per game.
Former Oregon assistant Brian Fish is the head coach of the Bobcats and Krystkowiak said they run a lot of the same things.
“They’ve got a nice team,” Krystkowiak added. “They’ve got some good players.”
EXTRA STUFF: Krystkowiak is seeking his 100th win as coach of the Utes. He’s 99-74 at the helm of the program . . . Montana State defeated Utah 70-64 in 2011. Prior to that, the Utes had 17 straight wins over the Bobcats . . . Utah is 154-61 against Big Sky Conference teams.
Montana State (5-2) at Utah (4-1)
Thursday, 7 p.m.
TV: Pac-12 Networks
Radio: ESPN 700AM