In case you haven't noticed by now, you may not have a lot of time if you want to make Utah's basketball game with Cal Irvine today.
Tipoff is set for noon at the Huntsman Center. It is the first of five high noon games this year, the first time the Utah baskeball program has had so many noon games.
In fact, the Utes may not have played five noon home games in their entire history.
Over the past 25 years, Utah has played just one home game at noon, a December contest against Savannah State in 2003. The fact the Utes rarely played afternoon games before the 1980s makes it unlikely there are many more noon starts in history.
While television may seem to be the reason for the early starts since every afternoon game is televised by The mtn., according to Jim Boylen, the Utes requested the early times.
"I love playing the noon games," Boylen said. "I think it's great for the fans and the players. I hate waiting around and these games shouldn't conflict with many things."
Boylen said he used to play a lot of noon games in the Big Ten, and he wanted to try them at Utah.
Besides today's game, the Utes will play noon games against Missouri State on Dec. 15, in the MWC opener against Air Force Jan. 5, against TCU Jan. 26 and New Mexico Feb. 23. Also, the Utes will play 2 p.m. games against BYU Jan. 19 and San Diego State Feb. 16.
Last year the Utes had four Saturday afternoon games, but none at noon. They had a pair of 1 p.m. games and one at 3:30 p.m. and one at 4:30 p.m. The year before that, Utah had just two Saturday afternoon games, at 1 and 2 p.m.
The Utes are coming off an impressive 72-52 victory over Weber State Wednesday night in Ogden, where after a poor start, they turned it on in the final 30 minutes and outscored the Wildcats by an astounding 44-12 over a 20-minute stretch.
Cal Irvine won two of its first three, including a convincing 70-51 victory over Utah State two weeks ago. However, since then, the Anteaters lost three straight to Mississippi State, Chattanooga and San Diego in the Anaheim Classic last week.
Patrick Sanders leads the Anteaters in both scoring (12.9) and rebounding (5.0). Other starters are Kevin Bland (9.0 ppg), Michael Hunter (7.5), Adam Rodenberg (6.8) and Chad DeCasas (6.0)
The Utes will go with their usual starting lineup of Luke Nevill, Shaun Green, Tyler Kepkay and Lawrence Borha, with freshman Carlon Brown starting in place of Stephen Weigh, who is still out with bruised ribs.After today's game, the Utes play Utah State Wednesday night at home at 7 p.m.
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