SALT LAKE CITY — Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak isn’t kidding when he said there will be a lot of jockeying going on in the Pac-12.
Entering the final week of conference play, eight seeds and a couple of first-round byes have yet to be determined. The only things set for next week’s Pac-12 Tournament at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas is No. 1 Washington, No. 2 Arizona State, No. 11 Washington State and No. 12 California.
Utah is currently in a third-place tie with Oregon State and UCLA at 9-7. Colorado, Oregon and USC are next at 8-8, while Arizona and Stanford are 8-9.
There are plenty of scenarios still in play. “It’s really a big-picture thing,” Krystkowiak said.
Things will begin to get more clear with games Wednesday. On Thursday, the Utes host USC (8 p.m., FS1). A win over the Trojans, along with a victory over UCLA on Saturday, is their sure path to a coveted bye in the conference tourney.
“At the end of the day, this is the time of year to be thinking an awful lot about what we need to do,” said Krystkowiak, who emphasized that the Utes are determined to stay centered and focused on what they can control.
And that, he continued, is being at their best against USC. The Utes defeated the Trojans 77-70 last month in Los Angeles.
TOUGH NIGHT: Utah was just 5 of 26 from 3-point range in Saturday’s 71-63 loss at Colorado. The misfires included a combined 2 of 18 performance by the backcourt.
Krystkowiak acknowledged that “you can’t make all of our 3s.” However, he noted that they would have liked to have made, say, three more against the Buffaloes.4 comments on this story
BACK IN ACTION: Krystkowiak said that starting forward Timmy Allen not only missed two games with a back issue, he also didn’t participate in seven practices or so.
As such, there’s been a little bit of rust to get off. The freshman returned for the Colorado game and scored 11 points in 29 minutes. He also had three assists, three rebounds and three steals.
“I have no concerns over his health and knowing that he’ll bounce back,” said Krystkowiak, who added that Allen is where he needs to be defensively, energy-wise and team-wise.
USC (15-14, 8-8) at Utah (15-13, 9-7)
Thursday, 8 p.m.
Radio: ESPN 700AM