SALT LAKE CITY — Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak understands what’s at stake Saturday afternoon against Colorado.
And it has almost nothing to do with bragging rights between the Pac-12 foes.
After last weekend’s 87-56 loss to Stanford in the Huntsman Center, the Utes (9-11, 1-7) are looking for redemption.
“I realize we laid an egg Sunday night. It was the lowest performance that we’ve had since I’ve been here — in a lot of ways,” Krystkowiak said, while noting the peaks and valleys in sports. “The great thing about it is we get a chance to come back out on Saturday afternoon and redeem ourselves a little bit.“
Krystkowiak is hopeful that the adversity and disappointment the Utes have endured will lead to growth. He said there’s been a good vibe internally this week and the team vows to move forward.
“We’ve just got to worry about the next game,” Krystkowiak said. “We’ve got to worry about a way to scratch and claw and get ready to go into our next game and get ready for the next possession.”
The Utes, he continued, also need to develop a deeper sense of urgency as conference play reaches the midway point.
“We need to re-strike that up and get it going again,” Krystkowiak said.
While Utah lost seven of its past eight games, the Utes’ next opponent is on a bit of a roll. Colorado (14-6, 4-4) has won three straight — topping Washington State, Stanford and California by a combined 40 points.
The defending Pac-12 Tournament champions are led by guards Spencer Dinwiddie (14.5 ppg) and Askia Booker (14.4 ppg), as well as forward Andre Roberson (10.8 ppg, 11.6 rpg).
Last season, the Buffaloes defeated the Utes three times — 73-33 in Boulder, 55-48 in Salt Lake City and 53-41 at the Pac-12 tourney in Los Angeles.
Colorado coach Tad Boyle, though, thinks Utah has made a lot of progress since then.
“They’re still in the process of trying to find themselves right now,” Boyle said. “But they’re a dangerous team and much, much, much improved from last year’s Utah team.”
Boyle, in fact, compares the Utes to a wounded dog right now.
“They can reach up and bite you at any time,” Boyle said. “I think if you ask Washington they’ll tell you that. They went in there (to Seattle) and did something we couldn’t do.”
EXTRA STUFF: The Utes will retire the sweater of former coach Rick Majerus, who passed away on Dec. 1, in halftime ceremonies . . . Utah scoring and rebounding leader Jordan Loveridge (12.1 ppg, 7.1 rpg) has a sore knee after a teammate rolled on it in practice this week. An MRI was negative and the swelling subsided as the week progressed . . . The Utes have lost four straight games at home. Their last victory in the Huntsman Center was a 72-38 win over the College of Idaho on Dec. 28.
Colorado (14-6, 4-4) at Utah (9-11, 1-7)
Saturday, 12:30 p.m.
Radio: ESPN 700AM