Scouting report: Utah
Game info: Noon Saturday at Huntsman Center (15,000 capacity)
TV: FSN (Joel Meyers and Ernie Kent)
Radio: KJR 950 AM and 102.9 FM (Bob Rondeau and Jason Hamilton)
Record: 4-10, 1-1 Pac-12.
Stats/schedule: Click here.
Game notes: Click here.
Coach: Larry Krystkowiak is 4-10 in his first season with the Utes. He is 46-30 in three years as a college coach. He was 46-20 at Montana. Krystkowiak also coached two years in the NBA where he was 31-69 at Milwaukee.
Prediction: Picked to finish last in the Pac-12 by media.
Series: Washington leads 6-5 in a series that began in Nov. 30, 1951. Lorenzo Romar is 2-1 against Utah and undefeated as UW coach. Krystkowiak is 0-1 against the Huskies. His Grizzlies were a No. 16 seed against No. 1 seed UW in the 2005 NCAA tournament.
Last meeting: Jon Brockman scored a career-high 31 points and grabbed 18 rebounds to lead Washington to an 83-77 victory over Utah on Nov. 14, 2007 in the second round of the NIT Season Tipoff at Edmunson Pavilion. Justin Dentmon added 16 points, including four in the final 1:29 minutes.
Previous game: Utah upset Washington State 62-60 in overtime Thursday.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
— Senior guard Josh Watkins (above) ranks sixth in the Pac-12 in scoring with 15.5 points per game. He’s scored double figures in 11 of his 13 games this season and in 16 of his last 18 dating back to last season. Watkins is a sturdy little guard with a quick first step. He’s explosive in the open court and likes to drive to the basket where he’s able to finish despite contact. He’s scored in double figures in 35 of 44 career games as a Ute and has eclipsed the 20-point plateau 10 times. He notched his career-high (26 points) against Portland on Dec. 19. Watkins has posted at least five assists in eight of his last nine games and is averaging 5.2 assists per game, second-best in the league. Krystkowiak suspended Watkins for one game this season for reasons the team described as “conduct detrimental to the team.”
— If Jason Washburn is shooting, it’s probably going in. His 60 percent field goal percentage is highest on the team and third best in the Pac-12. His 78.3 free throw percentage (36 of 46) is also best on the squad and ninth in the conference. Washburn isn’t a threat on the perimeter. He hasn’t taken a three-pointer this season. The 6-10 junior center is the only other Utah player averaging double-figure scoring. His 11.2 points per game is 29th in the Pac-12 in scoring. Washburn has scored double digits in 10 of 14 games this season. He also leads Utah with 6.9 rebounds per game.
Photo credit: Getty Images
— Junior guard Cedric Martin and Washburn are the only players who have started every game.
— Reserve junior guard Chris Hines leads Utah with 70 three-point attempts. However, he’s shooting just 31.4 percent behind the arc.
— Utah has scored fewer than 60 points in eight of its 14 games.
— The Utes average 57.2 points per game, which ranks last in the Pac-12. They allow an average of 72.8 points and the -15.6 difference is the worst in the conference.
— The Utes make just 41 percent of their shots and are an abysmal 27.2 from 3-point range .
— The Utah roster includes two Seattle natives, Glen Dean and Aaron Dotson. Both are sitting out this season due to transfer rules. Dean, a 2008 Roosevelt High graduate, transferred from Eastern Washington. Dean, a transfer from Louisiana State, graduated from Rainier Beach High. He’s recovering from brain surgery earlier this much to repair a ruptured blood vessel.
F – Jason Washburn, 6-10, 244, Jr., 11.2 ppg., 7.1 rpg., 0.8 bpg.
F – Dijon Farr. 6-6, 219, Jr., 6.1., 3.5, 0.5 apg
G – Cedric Martin, 6-4, 200, Jr, 6.5, 2.5, 1.5
G – Anthony Odunsi, 6-3, 193, Fr., 3.5, 1.5, 0.4
G – Josh Wakins 5-11, 211, Sr., 15.1, 3.3, 5.1
— Stopping Watkins is the key to Washington’s success. He’s the heart and soul of the Utes. In Thursday’s win he had 20 points, seven rebounds and six assists in 40 minutes. It’s the first time this season he played the entire game, but it proves how valuable he is to Utah. He gives the Utes moxie. When asked about Washington, Watkins said he was looking forward to the challenge of playing against a diverse four-guard lineup that includes Tony Wroten Jr., C.J. Wilcox, Terrence Ross and Abdul Gaddy. Not sure if Ross will spend time against Watkins because of the size matchup, but the other three UW guards will likely get a chance to slow him down.
Colorado held Watkins to 1-for-12 shooting and four points during its 40-point win over Utah last week. Idaho State also held Watkins to three points on 1-for-9 shooting. He’s scored at least 10 in every other game.