Utes Not Focused On Past Struggles Ahead Of Arizona Game
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Following a dramatic comeback victory over UCLA in which they erased a 20-plus point deficit in the final 12 minutes and capped off the win with a buzzer beating 3-pointer by Parker Van Dyke, the Utah Utes are looking to the future.
That said, there are plenty of lessons to be learned from the UCLA game, many of which aren’t entirely related to Van Dyke’s heroic shot.
“I think the teaching point is that we did a lot of bad things for 30 minutes and kind of put ourselves in that position,” said head coach Larry Krystkowiak in his weekly press conference.
Citing more lessons learned from a group of Navy Seals that the team worked out with during the offseason, Krystkowiak said it was a great life lesson.
“Like our Navy Seals buddies always talk about, you’re never out of the fight. That’s a big thing that we’ve done in our training with them and a life lesson and it comes to fruition in a basketball game. You just keep scratching and clawing and things worked out. Led for half a second, if I’m not mistaken,” said Krystkowiak.
In actuality, the Utes didn’t lead for any amount of game time in the victory with Van Dyke’s go-ahead shot passing through the rim as time expired.
Facing The ‘Flagship’ Program
Now, the Utes are in for a challenge that Krystkowiak hasn’t particularly enjoyed in his tenure at Utah’s helm.
The Arizona Wildcats are coming to town and that doesn’t bode well for Utah, who has only beaten Arizona once since joining the Pac-12 in 2011.
“It hasn’t been fun,” said Krystkowiak.
Led by Deandre Ayton, who was selected with the No. 1 overall pick in last summer’s NBA Draft, the Wildcats won both the conference regular season and tournament crowns.
This year, the Wildcats are struggling with a 14-10 record overall and a 5-6 mark in conference play. They currently are suffering with a five game losing streak.
Still, Krystkowiak considers the program, led by head coach Sean Miller, to be the class of the conference.
“I think they have been the flagship program and Sean’s done a heck of a job. They’ve been really, really good defensively and it’s not a complicated offensive plan as far as what they run it’s just they have some great athletes and they’ve done a great job on the glass,” said Krystkowiak.
The thing about Arizona, according to Krystkowiak, is that “they don’t beat themselves.”
Although the past doesn’t favor Utah in the matchup, most recently the Wildcats edged the Utes 84-81 in overtime on Jan. 5, the Utes aren’t focusing on that.
“The past is part of the equation but this is two different deals, two different teams and we don’t want to talk about it a whole lot, except to say that we have a real solid opponent coming in here. We’ve got to be ready to do whatever we can to get our second win in eight years,” said Krystkowiak.
The Utes will face Arizona Thursday at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPNU.
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