SALT LAKE CITY — Unlike their last road trip, the Utah Utes aren’t coming home between games Wednesday (Oregon State) and Saturday (Oregon).
Although Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak admits it’ll be a bit of a challenge, he also sees some benefit to it.
“As long as we have the academic side of things squared away, which we do, I think our team is actually kind of in need of getting out together for four to five days and spending time in a hotel,” said Krystkowiak, who noted that the Utes have been focused and dialed in on the road. “The timing might be pretty good for us to get out and do that again.”
It sort of worked last week. The Utes spent Friday night in the University Park Marriott, gathering for a meal and watching film. They went on to defeat Colorado 58-55 in the Huntsman Center the following day.
Utah will leave for Oregon on Tuesday and return home on Sunday. To assist with the excessive absence from school, a full-time tutor from the academic office is accompanying the team to Corvallis and Eugene.
When the Utes had a similar schedule in Washington last month, they opted to charter in and out of Pullman before flying from Utah to Seattle later in the week.
Krystkowiak said they probably could have tried the same scenario this week, but the trip was booked in advance. Besides, he explained, neither of the Oregon games are as challenging to get to as Washington State.
POSITION BATTLE: Krystkowiak said he’d like to see Justin Seymour (4 ppg) or Dakarai Tucker (2.3 ppg) step up and win the backup role behind Cedric Martin out on the wing.
“Right now, as a staff, we’re just kind of waiting for one of those guys to really separate himself,” Krystkowiak said. “I hope that can take place in the next couple of days before we take off for Corvallis.”
BACHYNSKI’S RETURN: After missing the Stanford game, sophomore center Dallin Bachynski returned to action in the win over Colorado — grabbing three rebounds with a block and a steal in 10 minutes.
“I thought it was good. Dallin practiced with us Thursday and Friday and is very much back with us,” Krystkowiak said. “(He) had a good week, I think, of some soul searching.”
Krystkowiak added that Bachynski was able to sort out some things on a personal basis and realize the support he has from everyone in the program.
“That was pretty uplifting, I think, for him to know that those guys were rallying around him,” Krystkowiak said. “We need his energy; we need his size. He’s as athletic as anybody on our team. Now that he’s gotten some things straightened out off the court, I think his better days are ahead with half our league still ahead of us.”
MESSAGE RECEIVED: Krystkowiak acknowledged that he overheard a fan screaming some advice to him about freshman big man Jeremy Olsen late in Saturday’s victory over Colorado.
“Krystkowiak get Jeremy back in the game,” he recalled.
Olsen scored 12 points in 14 minutes off the bench.
“I wasn’t smart enough to listen to that,” Krystkowiak joked. “But he played really well,
As such, Krystkowiak said that Olsen is going to earn more minutes, adding that “he already has.”
Utes on the air
Utah (10-11, 2-7) at Oregon State (11-11, 1-8)
Gill Coliseum, Corvallis
Wednesday, 8 p.m. (MT)
TV: Pac-12 Networks
Radio: ESPN 700AM