Utes Not Focused On Past Shortcomings For Trip To Kentucky

Dec 14, 2018, 2:27 PM
Utah Utes head coach Larry Krystkowiak calls out to players during the game against the Brigham You...
Utah Utes head coach Larry Krystkowiak calls out to players during the game against the Brigham Young Cougars at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)
(Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Saturday’s matchup between Utah and Kentucky will be the 11th all-time meeting between the two men’s basketball programs.

It hasn’t been a successful or even an even-keeled series for the Utes, who have lost their last seven matchups with the Wildcats. That streak includes six losses to Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament, including a 78-69 defeat in the 1998 championship game.

The Past Is The Past

Utah head coach Larry Krystkowiak was at that Final Four in San Antonio with the Stanford coaching staff and remembers it well. While he appreciate the history of the Utes’ series with Kentucky, he says it will have little bearing on Saturday’s contest.

“No disrespect to the past, I love the tradition and seeing the photos from the Final Four and knowing all of the history,” said Krystkowiak. “We’ve always talked about the three different elements that are really important in your program and the past is one third of that. So when people hear that I’m not talking about that, that’s no disrespect to that era, but that has nothing to do with, I think it’s been 42 years since the Utes have beat them, is what has been brought to my attention last night. So it’s a whole different category and we’ve got far bigger fish to fry and issues to deal with than any past history.”

Krystkowiak is correct in saying that the Utes haven’t beaten Wildcats in 42 years. Not since the Utes’ narrow 70-68 victory in 1976 have they won against Kentucky.

Utes To Spend Extra Time In Kentucky

Regardless of the outcome, Krystkowiak knows that traveling to Rupp Arena in Lexington will be an unforgettable experience for his team. They’re going to do everything they can to enjoy the moment.

It’s something that we’ve talked about, our program, getting to a place that’s certainly one of the blue bloods and leads the country in attendance. It’s going to be an unbelievable environment. We’re going to be curious about peeking around. We’re going to be there for two days, heading in there Thursday for the Saturday game. So we’ll have a little bit of time to check out Rupp and Lexington.

The game on Saturday will tip off at 3 p.m. and be broadcast on ESPN2.



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Utes Not Focused On Past Shortcomings For Trip To Kentucky