Scouting report: Utah
Game info: 8 p.m. Saturday at Alaska Airlines Arena (10,000 capacity).
TV: ESPNU/ESPN3 (Dave Flemming and Sean Farnham).
Radio: KJR 950 AM and 102.9 FM (Bob Rondeau and Jason Hamilton).
Coach: Larry Krystkowiak is 14-34 (.292) in his second season with the Utes and 56-54 (.509) in four years as a head coach. Prior to joining Utah in 2011, he spent two years at Montana where he amassed a 42-20 (.677) record.
Prediction: Picked to finish 12th in a preseason poll in the Pac-12 by media who cover the conference.
Series: Washington leads 7-5 in a series that began Nov. 30, 1951. UW is 4-1 in games played in Seattle. The Huskies are riding a three-game win streak over the Utes.
Last meeting: Washington won 57-53 at Utah on Jan. 7, 2012 thanks to Terrence Ross and a stifling defense. The Huskies held the Utes to 37.3 percent shooting and forced 12 turnovers. Washington led by as many as 10 (41-31) with early in the second half, but the Utes cut the lead to 43-42 with 9:05 left. Ross bailed out UW scoring five of his team-high 14 points in the final three minutes.
Previous game: Lost 75-65 at Washington State on Wednesday.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
— Freshman forward Jordan Loveridge (far right) doesn’t get the publicity as the fab frosh at UCLA, Arizona State and Oregon. But he’s every bit as good as any first-year player in the conference. The 6-6, 230-pound forward leads Utah with a 7.4 rebounding averaging. He’s also second on the team in scoring averaging 12.5 points.
Loveridge, who was Utah’s Mr. Basketball as a senior, is the centerpiece of a major reclamation project at Utah. The Utes added 11 new players.
Loveridge has started every game this season and he’s averaging 31.6 minutes. He tallied a personal best 24 points against Cal State Northridge and pulled down a career high 12 rebounds against Idaho State. He has three double doubles.
Loveridge is versatile offensively. He’s shooting 78.4 percent (40 of 51) at the free throw line, 40.2 percent (78 of 194) from the field and 32.1 percent on three-pointers (17 of 53).
— The Huskies will remember 6-10 senior center Jason Washburn from last year’s game. He finished with six points and seven rebounds while Aziz N’Diaye had nine points and six rebounds. The two big men comprise one of the key matchups in tonight’s game. Washburn isn’t the key to success for the Utes, but he makes things much easier for them when he plays well. In their last four wins, Washburn scored at least 10 points.
In narrow defeats to Arizona State, Arizona and UCLA, Washburn had a double double in each game and averaged 15.7 points and 13.3 points.
He’s averaging 10.6 points and 6.3 rebounds. He’s also shooting 60.3 percent from the field and 80.8 percent on foul shots.
Washburn has struggled with turnovers. He averages 2.0 TOs and has had at least three in turnovers in three of the past four games.
— Jarred DuBois, a senior transfer from Loyola Marymount, leads Utah with a 13.0 scoring average. He’s tallied at least 20 points in three games and has a season high of 25. He’s a deadly shooter who ranks among the Pac-12 best in three-point shooting percentage (.411) and free throw percentage (83.1). Dubois leads Utah averaging 32.7 minutes.
— It’s a homecoming for junior guards Glen Dean and Aaron Dotson. Dean, a 5-10 and 170-pound guard, starred at Roosevelt High. He played one year at Eastern Washington before transferring to Utah. He’s started every game this season, averaging 7.1 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists. His personal scoring high at Utah is 16 points.
Dotson led Rainier Beach to the Class 3A State Championship in 2008 with a 24-1 record. He also played at Garfield High. After high school, Dotson played two seasons at LSU. Dotson missed the first five games this season while recovering from a foot injury. He’s started five of 10 games, averaging 2.7 points, 1.8 assists and 1.3 rebounds. He hasn’t played the past two games due to a knee injury.
— Utah finished the non-conference season with an 8-4 record, including a solid 77-56 win over Boise State. Howver, it was the Utes’ only win against a team with a RPI lower than 100. They’re riding a five-game winning streak that includes narrow defeats against Arizona State (55-54 OT), Arizona (60-57) and UCLA (57-53).
— When evaluating Utah, it’s important to remember Krystkowiak is in the second year of a major rebuilding project. The Utes had as many transfers as wins – six each – last season.
— Senior guard Cedric Martin and Washburn are the only holdovers from a Utah team that played Washington last year.
— Utah is No. 170 in the RPI.
— The Utes are allowing 59.4 points per game, which ranks second in the Pac-12. They’re allowing 64.6 points to Pac-12 opponents.
— Utah ranks ninth nationally in opponents field goal percentage (36.5 percent). Last season, the Utes were 321st.
— Four Utah players average at least two assists per game.
— Eight players have started for Utah. Loveridge and Dean have started every game.
F – Jason Washburn, 6-10, 242, Sr., 10.6 ppg., 6.3 rpg., 1.8 bpg.
F – Jordan Loveridge, 6-6, 230, Fr., 12.5, 7.4, 2.2 apg.
G – Cedric Martin, 6-4, 203, Sr., 4.5, 2.8, 2.5
G – Jarred DuBois, 6-3, 172, Sr., 13.0, 3.0, 3.4
G – Glen Dean, 5-10, 175, Jr., 7.1, 2.6, 2.6
UW COACH LORENZO ROMAR ON UTAH:
(Opening comments) “We’re in for another battle in the Pac-12. Colorado was very physical. Utah will be at least as physical as Colorado was. They’re deliberate offensively. They’re going to make sure they take care of the basketball. It’s going to be another challenge for us and we need to be up to the task.
(On Utah’s height) “They have good size, but they always play so hard. They’re a gritty, gritty team.”
(On what do you tell UW players about Utah) “We talk to our team about their first three conference games. At Arizona State, Arizona State hits a three to send the game into overtime where they win the game. At Arizona, they’re right there at the end and then at home against UCLA. Those first three games teams that are right there at the top of our league. They are three-point games and they had every chance to win those games. Our group understands that. And we just go back to one year ago when we went to Utah. They’re up two and Terrence Ross hits a tough shot with just under a minute to put us up five. But that game went down to the wire.”