It's refreshing to hear Utah basketball coach Jim Boylen acknowledge games against instate rivals might mean a little more than others.
Boylen will experience his first instate game Wednesday when his team travels to Ogden to face Weber State at 7 p.m. in the Dee Events Center.
Former Utah coach Rick Majerus used to have a mantra of "It only counts as one game" and refused to make a big deal about instate games. Football coach Kyle Whittingham said something similar before last week's game with BYU about it only counting as one.
It's understandable what they're saying don't get overly excited about one game over another. But Boylen also has a good perspective.
"I think rivalry games are an honor to play in," he said. "Not everybody gets to do that. Not every school has a rival. We have four of them Southern Utah, Weber State, Utah State and BYU. That's great for your program. It creates interest, it creates toughness and it creates a lot of pressure because the game maybe means a little more to more people. I think all these things are good."
MORE GREEN SHOTS: All season, Boylen has praised the play of junior Shaun Green, who leads the team in minutes played and assist-to-turnover ratio and ranks second in assists, rebounds, blocks and steals.
However, Green has scored just seven points all season and ranks 10th on the team with a 1.8 average after averaging 11.1 ppg last year.
Boylen acknowledged in his Monday press conference that Green needs to score more.
"He needs to score the ball, he needs to get some open shots. He has passed some open looks and we have to get him more shots," he said.
"Shaun Green is playing the way I think a winning player plays," Boylen continued. "He's taking what the defense is giving him, he's making other people better and he's defending as good as he ever has in his career. I'm asking him to do a lot of those other things. We've got to get him back to making some shots, but he is becoming a complete player, and I am very happy with him."
DEFENSIVE: With a solid week of practice since the disappointing home loss to Santa Clara, the Utes have had a lot of time to work some kinks out.
Boylen said the coaches have analyzed the film of the first four games and are trying to fix the problems. However he is pleased with many things about his team, particularly on defense.
He said the Utes are holding opponents to 41.7 percent field goal shooting so far compared to 52.5 per game last year through four games. Boylen could have added that last year opponents were hitting 50.0 percent from 3-point range compared to 37.7 percent this year.
"I'm not a huge stat guy," he said. "But I try to use certain stats to gauge where this team is going. We are getting better defensively and have taken some ownership on the defensive end of the floor."
INJURY UPDATE: Sophomore forward Stephen Weigh may not play Wednesday against Weber State. He has sat out since the Santa Clara game with a severely bruised rib cartilage.
"We're not sure when his return will be," Boylen said. "It's a difficult injury to gauge. We need Stephen to play, but right now he can't even practice."
Freshman Carlon Brown will likely start in his place and Luka Drca, who can play three positions, will see increased minutes at the 3 spot.
Also, sophomore guard Curtis Eatmon continues to sit out with a groin injury and isn't expected to play anytime soon.UTE NOTES: The Utes lead the series with Weber State 22-12 and have won the last six games. ... Utah is shooting 53.2 percent from the field, but only 67.1 percent from the free-throw line. ... The Utes are outrebounding opponents by 5.7 boards per game. ... After Wednesday's game, the Utes will play Cal Irvine Saturday at noon. It will be the first of five noon home games this season.
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