Utah Utes (9-8, 6-7)
- Head Coach: Larry Krystkowiak (10th Season, Overall: 180–134)
- Points For: 70.6 PPG (219th)
- Points Against: 67.5 PPG (T-94th)
- Last Game/Streak: 73-66 Loss at Stanford (1L)
- Timmy Allen (17.0 PPG)
- Alfonso Plummer (13.3 PPG)
- Mikael Jantunen (8.5 PPG, Out - FIBA)
- Branden Carlson (8.3 PPG)
- Pelle Larsson (8.0 PPG)
- Riley Battin (6.8 PPG)
- Rylan Jones (4.9 PPG, TBA - Arm Injury)
- Ian Martinez (4.1 PPG)
As if the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic wasn’t enough for a college basketball program to navigate around, Utah was dealt another blow when big man Mikael Jantunen opted to head back overseas to compete for his native Finland in FIBA EuroBasketball qualifiers.
Now, the Utes are tasked to head forward their usually powerful frontcourt a bit more unstable, as just six more games sit remaining on their regular season slate. The Beavers will square off twice with Oregon State during that stretch, but also will have to manage a difficult road trip to Oregon and three home tests with NCAA Tournament projected teams in UCLA, USC and Colorado.
Somehow, I can’t imagine Larry Krystkowiak will be sleeping well over the next month.
To add to Krystkowiak’s growing list of problems is the status of guard Rylan Jones, the team leader in assists and steals, who missed their recent loss to Stanford with an arm injury. The potential return of Jones can only help in the equation for leading scorers Timmy Allen and Alfonso Plummer, who currently are accounting for around 43% of the team’s offensive load nightly.
In all, the Utes will have a defining stretch ahead of them, which will further tests how pieces like center Branden Carlson, forward Riley Battin and guard Pelle Larsson perform in expanded roles. If Utah can find depth within these players and potentially get breakthrough nights from the likes of Ian Martinez or even a Lahat Thioune, Utah can keep their head above water heading into the glowing embers of the 2020-2021 campaign.
If not, Utah might be stumbling their way across the finish line and simply ready to put the past year behind them, along with the rest of us.
- Date: Thursday, February 18th
- Time: 5:30 PM PT
- Location: Gill Coliseum (Corvallis, Oregon)
- Coverage: Pac-12 Networks