Utah Men's Basketball 2014 NIT Tournament Capsule

Utah Utes
Pac-12 (21-11, 9-9)


Even though Utah fell by a wide margin to Arizona in the Pac-12 conference tournament, the Utes have 21 victories and that should be enough to earn a tournament bid. But it is the NIT. However, the 21-win season is the best in the three-year reign of Larry Krystkowiak as head coach and it continues the quick improvement this team has posted since a 6-25 campaign in 2012. Utah was one of the teams in the logjam for third place behind Arizona and UCLA, and the fact it lost to Arizona in the round of eight is nothing to be ashamed about. The Utes have a chance to finish the season strong and provide a solid springboard into next year.

Big Wins: 12/14 BYU (81-64), 1/18 UCLA (74-69), 3/1 Colorado (75-64)
Bad Losses: 12/3 at Boise State (67-69), 1/8 at Washington (57-59), 1/12 at Washington State (46-49)
Coach: Larry Krystkowiak (3 seasons at Utah)

Why They Can Surprise:
The 32-point loss to Arizona in the tournament quarterfinals was considered an aberration by some people, as Utah lost its regular-season meetings by a combined 13 points. It also knocked off UCLA by five points in a regular-season showdown. When it comes to individual statistics, not only can the Utes shoot with the best of the Pac-12, it can also defend against perimeter shooting. Utah’s 49.6 percent field-goal shooting is the best in the Pac-12, and its 30.3 percent defensive 3-point shooting is also number one in the conference. A team that shoots well and does well against defending the three can go a long way, and it suggests a perimeter-oriented team that faces Utah might have trouble in the tournament. Delon Wright and Jordan Loveridge combine for close to 32 points a game, and it is that 1-2 punch that suggests Utah means business.

Why They Can Disappoint:
Like with UCLA toward the end of the season, Utah suffered an early conference loss to Washington State, a team that ended up 3-15 in league play. When you lose to a team like this, it does raise some questions. That definitely goes into the bad losses category, and it raises the question of just how strong the Utes are. While Utah is strong in almost all Pac-12 categories, the team is seventh in 3-point percentage. If a team finds a way to choke off the inside lanes and prevent players like Wright and Loveridge from scoring, the Utes could be in serious trouble. Then there is the spotty history of the recent teams. The Utes haven’t been to any postseason tournament in five years.

Probable Starters:
Delon Wright, Junior, Guard, 15.7 ppg, 5.2 apg, 5.2 rpg
Brandon Taylor, Sophomore, Guard, 10.5 ppg, 3.6 apg
Princeton Onwas, Junior, Guard/Forward, 4.7 ppg, 2.5 rpg
Jordan Loveridge, Sophomore, Forward, 14.7 ppg, 7.1 rpg
Dallin Bachynski, Junior, Center, 6.9 ppg, 4.7 rpg

Key Roleplayers:
Jeremy Olsen, Sophomore, Center, 5.4 ppg, 2.7 rpg
Renan Lenz, Senior, Forward, 4.8 ppg, 2.3 rpg
Dakarai Tucker, Sophomore, Guard/Forward, 6.8 ppg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 77.2 (40th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 64.0 (40, 2)
Field-Goal Percentage: 49.7 (5, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.8 (51, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.4 (144, 5)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 35.2 (134, 7)
Free-Throw Percentage: 73.8 (39, 4)
Rebound Margin: 4.1 (52, 3)
Assists Per Game: 15.8 (21, 2)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.7 (109, 8)

Recent Postseason Appearances:
2009    NCAA    Round of 64 loss to Arizona   
2008    CBI        First Round win over UTE
2008    CBI        Second Round loss to Tulsa
2005    NCAA    Round of 64 win over UTEP
2005    NCAA    Round of 32 win over Oklahoma
2005    NCAA    Regional semifinal loss to Kentucky
2004    NCAA    Round of 64 loss to Boston College
2003    NCAA    Round of 64 win over Oregon
2003    NCAA    Round of 32 loss to Kentucky

*all team stats through 3/9


See All Men’s Basketball Postseason Capsules