#9 - Utah Utes (16-14, 7-11)
- Head Coach: Larry Krystkowiak (9th Season)
- Top Performer: Timmy Allen (17.5, 7.3 RPG)
- Points For: 71.0 PPG (T-199th)
- Points Against: 70.3 PPG (204th)
- Last Game/Streak: 74-72 Win vs. Colorado (1W)
Well, well, well. The time is finally here for the Pac-12 Tournament and as we earlier noted, the Beavers have earned themselves a #8 seed, which means they’ll take on #9 Utah in the first round. It’s an interesting match-up for Oregon State, as the two teams split their regular season meetings in two very similar fashions. Both times the home team won by double-digits. That won’t help either squad on a neutral floor in Las Vegas to kick off the Pac-12 Tournament.
If you don’t know by now, Utah is a grind-it-out type of team that’s led by Timmy Allen (17.5 PPG), a second-team All-Pac-12 selection. Allen is a stat-sheet stuffing talent who can overpower smaller defenders and use his speed to beat larger opponents off the dribble. He operates in some of the game’s tougher spots and always finds ways to help his Utah team. He’s hands down, one of the tougher individual match-ups in the league.
Recently, Allen has been helped by the return of Both Gach (11.0 PPG), who is coming off a 28-point display in the Utes win over Colorado. Like Allen, Gach is a match-up nightmare at 6’ 6” with guard-like skills. Floor spacer Rylan Jones (9.6 PPG) also plays a key role for this team, as does forward Riley Battin (7.8 PPG) who competes hard on the glass. Alfonso Plummer (7.4 PPG) has also been the Utes most recent revelation, as he’s combined for 44 points in his last two outings. Guard Jaxon Brenchley (4.2 PPG) has logged heavy minutes for the group as well.
Other names to know include seven-footer Branden Carlson (7.0 PPG), a center who has gone cold as of late, as well as big man Mikael Jantunen (7.0 PPG), who has come on as of late. Both these players anchor the Utes’ front-court, which as always, is the basis of where Utah likes to channel their game through on the offensive end.
However, it’s not hard to see that on any given night, it can be just about any random player who comes through for Utah. Obviously, the Pac-12 Tournament resets things for a lot of teams but with both the Beavers and the Utes not really looking forward to Selection Sunday, an NIT bid at most is on the line for both these teams (barring a miracle run). If nothing else, there are careers, jobs and maybe more for these programs hanging in the balance, so no, don’t expect this one to have a lack of effort or desire in it.
Player To Watch
Both Gach (Forward - Sophomore)
Both Gach’s positive health means that Utah can actually turn some heads in the Pac-12 Tournament and if they do beat the Beavers, you have to image the swingman plays a role in the equation. Gach has the ability to take the scoring load off the shoulders of Allen, while also taking on the responsibility of defending some of the better opposing pieces.
- Date: Wednesday, March 11th
- Time: 12:00 PM PT
- Location: T-Mobile Arena (Las Vegas, NV)
- Coverage: Pac-12 Network