SALT LAKE CITY — When Pac-12 play opened last month, the Utah Utes put together back-to-back solid showings on the road — dropping narrow setbacks at Arizona State (55-54 in overtime) and Arizona (60-57).
Now come the rematches. The Sun Devils (18-6, 7-4) visit the Huntsman Center on Wednesday and the Wildcats (20-3, 8-3) come to town Sunday.
Although armed with experience of playing well against both teams on the road, Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak said it’s a little bit risky to use that as encouragement this week.
“We haven’t necessarily had that same kind of energy at home, and that’s troublesome,” said Krystkowiak, who added that the Utes (10-13, 2-9) face two really good teams this week. “We kind of know about the past, but it’s really about the first play on Wednesday more than anything.”
Utah’s lifeline, he continued, is to finish the final seven regular season games on a high note — to be more consistent and piece some possessions together.
“Then when you head to Vegas (for the Pac-12 tourney), anything can happen. You can’t get ahead of yourself, but that’s where we are,” Krystkowiak said. “We hope we have double-digit games left in us. At the end of the day we can talk about possibilities, but at the end of the day we have to improve in practice and stay with the model we have had all year.”
POWER OUTAGE: One of the more glaring statistics in Oregon’s 41-19 rebounding advantage Saturday night was the fact that Utah didn’t get a single board out of the power forward position. Starter Jordan Loveridge and backup Renan Lenz were blanked in a combined 40 minutes of action.
“At some point we’ve got to make up our mind to go get some and be a little bit more determined,” Krystkowiak said.
MONTANA GUYS: Krystkowiak said that he knows newly hired Utah football co-offensive coordinator Dennis Erickson. Both coaches are from Montana and they've crossed paths in some golf tournaments over the years.
“I’m looking forward to catching up with him,” Krystkowiak said. “It’s always good.”
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @DirkFacer
Copyright 2016, Deseret News Publishing Company