LOS ANGELES — It may not take long for the Utah Utes to bounce back from Thursday's 76-49 loss to UCLA. They have a prime opportunity to turn things around tonight against USC at the Galen Center.
The Trojans (5-16, 0-8) have lost nine consecutive games and will face the Utes without 7-foot sophomore Dewayne Dedmon, who tore his MCL in a 74-50 loss to Colorado earlier in the week. Dedmon is the fifth scholarship player USC has lost to injury this season, leaving them with just six to finish out the campaign.
"All this injury stuff has caught up to us. Without Dewayne in there, we're just outmanned. We're playing with two walk-ons in our rotations," USC coach Kevin O'Neill told the Daily Trojan. "Every player on our team is playing more minutes than they can handle right now."
The Trojans haven't won a game since topping TCU on Dec. 19. They've dropped 12 of their last 13 outings and are the only Pac-12 team without a conference victory.
Utah, meanwhile, is still searching for its first road win of the season. Dating back to last February in New Mexico, the Utes have dropped 12 straight games away from the Huntsman Center.
"Something has to give. Either they're going to win their first (Pac-12) game or we're going to win our first road game," noted Utah guard Chris Hines. "So it'll be a good night for somebody and hopefully it's us."
The Utes practiced for about an hour Friday and watched a lot of film in preparing for USC. Head coach Larry Krystkowiak said spirits were good and the players came out determined to get better.
They didn't, however, discuss the possibilities associated with facing a depleted USC squad.
"I think it's in the back of everyone's mind that there's certain teams that the stars have to line up perfectly for us to be able to beat and there's other teams where we have more of an opportunity," Krystkowiak said. "But we don't talk about it. I think everybody just kind of knows it."
USC is thinking the same thing, he added, noting there's some similarities between the the programs. At this point, it's about survival.
"We're a couple of teams that need to compete and are desperate to try to get a win," Krystkowiak said before outlining three things Utah must do to secure a victory on the road. The list includes playing hard, playing smart and working together.
"In my opinion, if you can get two out of those three you're going to win a majority of your games," Krystkowiak said.
Utes on the air
Utah (5-15, 2-6) at USC (5-16, 0-8)
Galen Center, Los Angeles
Saturday, 9 p.m. (MT)
TV: none Radio: 700 AM
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @DirkFacer