Scouting report: Utah
Game info: 8 p.m. Wednesday at Alaska Airlines Arena (10,000 capacity).
TV: Pac-12 Networks (Ted Robinson and Ernie Kent).
Radio: KJR 950 AM (Bob Rondeau and Jason Hamilton).
Coach: Larry Krystkowiak is 33-45 (.423) in his third season with the Utes and 75-65 (.536) in five 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. Krystowiak played at Montana (1982-86). Taken in the second round of the 1986 draft, he had a nine-year NBA career.
Prediction: Picked to finish ninth in a preseason poll in the Pac-12 by media who cover the conference.
Series: Washington leads 7-6 in a series that began Nov. 30, 1951. UW is 4-2 in games played in Seattle.
Last meeting: Brandon Taylor scored a then-career-high 19 points off the bench, Jason Washburn had 14 of his 18 points in the first half and Jordan Loveridge added 17 to lead Utah to its first ever Pac-12 road game win, a 74-65 victory on Jan. 19, 2013. The Utes never trailed, led by as many as 15 points and shot 60.4 percent (29 of 48) from the field. The Huskies trailed 12-2 at the start and were down 33-25 at halftime. Utah built a 56-41 lead with 8:21 left when the Huskies made one last run. They cut their deficit to six points (60-54) with 3:13 remaining, but didn’t get any closer. With C.J. Wilcox (14 points) and Scott Suggs (12) struggling offensively, Andrew Andrews scored a then-career-high 17. The loss snapped Washington’s four-game winning streak and began a four-game skid.
Previous game: Utah beat Oregon State 80-69 last Saturday at the Huntsmen Center.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
— Sophomore forward Jordan Loveridge is the biggest recruit for Krystowiak. The former four-star recruit who was Utah’s Mr. Basketball as a prep senior has lived up to the hype. He averaged 12.1 points and seven rebounds last season. He finished his first year with a bang averaging 16.5 points and nine rebounds in the four-game winning streak at the end of the season. In the offseason, the 6-6 forward lost about 25 pounds and is listed at 210.
This season, he leads Utah in scoring (17.0 points per game) and rebounding (8.8). He’s also averaging 3.3 assists and 33.1 minutes. His career scoring high is 27 points. Loveridge won the Pac-12 Player of the Week award on Dec. 16. He has five double-double performances this season. He’s also started 45 of 46 games the past two years.
Loveridge is versatile offensively. He does a good job drawing fouls and getting to the free-throw line where he shoots 81.4 percent. He’s also made 21 three-pointers.
— Last year, Washington was in the market for a versatile wing player from a junior college. Two of the candidates included Mike Anderson and Delon Wright (right), who starred at City College of San Francisco. Anderson starts at UW and Wright, who also considered Gonzaga and Washington State, picked Utah.
The 6-5 junior has made an immediate impact with the Utes. He’s started all 14 games. He averages 14.8 points, 6.9 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 2.5 steals in 34 minutes. And his field goal percentage (68.1 percent) reads like a typo.
Wright is the younger brother of Philadelphia 76ers guard Dorrell Wright, who has played in the NBA for nine years.
— Brandon Taylor burned Washington in last year’s game with his quickness and dribble drive layups. The 5-10 point guard has been forced to share ball-handling and play-making duties with Wright. He’s still been quite effective. Taylor averages 11.7 points and 4.3 assists in 30.2 minutes. If he had enough attempts, he his 89.3 percent free throw shooting would lead the Pac-12.
In last Saturday’s win over Oregon State, Taylor scored a career-high 23 points on 7-of-9 shooting. He also had a personal best eight assists.
— Loveridge (8), Wright (3) or Taylor (3) have led Utah in scoring every game. The trio logs heavy minutes, each averaging at least 30.
— Dakarai Tucker, a 6-5 sophomore wing, is a decent spot-up jump shooter, who shoots 36.5 percent (23 of 63) on three-pointers. He’s attempted just seven free throws, making five.
— Krystowiak is relying on a three-man rotation in the post that includes: 6-10 sophomore Jeremy Olsen, 6-9 senior Renan Lenz and 7-foot junior Dallin Bachynski who is the younger brother of Arizona State senior Jordan Bachynski. No one averages more than 17 minutes and collectively they average 19.1 points and 11 rebounds.
— When evaluating Utah, it’s important to remember Krystkowiak is in the third year of a major rebuilding project. The Utes were 6-25 his first season. They had six transfers that first season and brought in seven new players this season.
— The Utes have won 16 of its last 19 games dating back to last season. This is their best start to a season since beginning the 1997-98 campaign 18-0. That year they played in the NCAA tournament championship game.
— Utah has won won 11 of of 12 games this season by double figures and lead the nation in scoring margin (+24.3). However, its nonconference schedule was ranked 350 among 351 schools by basketball statistician Ken Pomeroy.
— The Utes nearly upset then-No. 10 Oregon in the Pac-12 opener before falling 70-68 in overtime.
— Utah is 141 in the RPI.
— The Utes are playing just their second road game. They are 4-28 the past three seasons away from home.
— Seven players have started for Utah. The Utes have relied on three starting lineups. Olsen moved into the lineup last Saturday.
F – Jeremy Olsen, 6-10, 228, So., 5.5 ppg., 2.0 rpg., 10.2 mpg., 70.0 FG%
F – Jordan Loveridge, 6-6, 218, So., 17.0, 8.8, 3.3 apg., 33.1 mpg.
F – Dakarai Tucker, 6-5, 190, So., 8.0, 2.4, 21.4 mpg., 71.4 FT%,
G – Delon Wright, 6-5, 180, Jr., 14.8, 6.9, 5.6 apg., 2.5 spg., 34.0 mpg., 68.1 FG%
G – Brandon Taylor, 5-10, 162, So., 11.7, 1.6, 4.3 apg., 30.2 mpg., 89.3 FT%