SAN FRANCISCO — As usual, Utah basketball coach Larry Krystkowiak wasn’t all that concerned about where the Utes were picked to finish in the Pac-12’s annual preseason media poll. They’re predicted to finish seventh — behind Arizona, USC, UCLA, Oregon, Stanford and Arizona State, but ahead of Oregon State, Colorado, Washington, California and Washington State.
Krystkowiak noted that his lucky number is seven and that this is his seventh season at the Utes' helm.
“So we’ll just keep on grinding,” he said.
Later in the morning, Krystkowiak expounded on his comments after taking the main stage. He even drew laughter from reporters.
"We're excited to be here. Year seven at Utah, picked No. 7," Krystkowiak said. "So it's my lucky number, expect us to go to the Final Four."
Players David Collette and Justin Bibbins joined Krystkowiak at the Pac-12 offices for the gathering Thursday.
“They did this last year (eighth) and we finished fourth,” Collette said. “They can pick us wherever they want but that’s not going to happen.”
Collette did, however, acknowledge that being picked seventh will provide a little bit of motivation.
Bibbins had similar thoughts.
“Those rankings don’t matter to me at all,” he said. “I’ve seen teams picked fifth and they’ve won it all. So, at the end of the day it’s whoever gets better throughout this course and who is the best team in March.”
REPPING THE U.: Collette and Bibbins expressed appreciation for being able to represent Utah at Pac-12 Media Day.
“It’s pretty fun,” Collette said. “I mean I’m not one for attention and stuff so I wouldn’t be like dying to come here, but it’s been pretty fun — a different experience.”
Bibbins, a graduate transfer from Long Beach State, is representing Utah before even playing a second for the Utes.
“It’s definitely exciting to represent the team. It’s an honor,” Bibbins said. “But I’m the same way like David, you know, I just come in, do my work and leave. So it’s nice to be recognized, though.”
EXTRA STUFF: Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott expressed concern for those impacted by the wildfires in the western United States. The smoky conditions led to the representatives from Oregon and Oregon State being late to media day ... Scott noted that the conference has a lot of friends in Las Vegas and will find an appropriate way to express its support to the victims and their families of the mass shooting at the Pac-12 Tournament at T-Mobile Arena in March ... The Pac-12 will have 224 games televised this season.
2017-18 Pac-12 men’s basketball preseason media poll
Team (first-place votes) Points
1. Arizona (22) ... 273
2. USC (1) .... 251
3. UCLA ... 223
4. Oregon ... 203
5. Stanford ... 182
6. Arizona State ... 146
7. Utah ... 129
8. Oregon State ... 125
9. Colorado ... 112
10. Washington ... 71
11. California ... 46
12. Washington State ... 33