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Utah’s Inexperience Will Be Factor Facing Rival BYU

(Photo courtesy of Sarah Shebek, Utah Athletics)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – When the University of Utah Men’s Basketball team takes the court against their rival BYU on Wednesday night, they will have some players new to the experience of facing the rivals on the hardwood.

The Utes are in a different spot than BYU at this point in the season, holding a 5-2 record with losses to Coastal Carolina and Tulane in the Myrtle Beach Invitational. While, BYU is 6-3 on the year and had a successful appearance in the Maui Invitational, where they finished in third place with wins over UCLA and Virginia Tech and falling to No. 4 Kansas.

“They are a really good team,” Utah head coach Larry Krystkowiak said. “They lost a tight one at Boise State that was a heck of a game. Played three really good opponents in Maui and won a couple of those. They are clicking on all cylinders, they share the ball and shoot the ball and have a bunch of offensive weapons. Then you throw Yoeli (Childs) back into the mix. We are going to have to be as good as we have been all year and then some. Defensively, we are going to have to be dialed in and guard a bunch of actions and a bunch of personnel, it’s a really good looking squad. They are connected on both ends of the floor, so we have our hands full.”

Utah has 11 freshmen on the current roster, six of them are freshmen from the state of Utah.

“A lot of the freshmen we have, have gotten a dose of it, not live but having lived in the state, so it is not going to be foreign to them,” Krystkowiak said. “The adrenaline and the crowd, the environment certainly gets the blood pressure a little bit higher and gets your pulse going a little bit higher. I am not going to talk a whole lot about it to the young kids. I think it’s something that is going to be learned through experience and about staying in the game, in the fight and trying to win the game. We are not really prepping any different than we have with any other opponent.”

The Crimson Corner and Cougar Tracks podcasts previewed the matchup.

The only three players that played in the game last year at Vivint Smart Home Arena was Both Gach, Timmy Allen and Riley Battin. The Utes were defeated by the Cougars 74-59 in the Beehive Classic last season. Allen led the returners with 13 points, Battin had 9 points, with Gach contributing 5 points.

Utah and BYU will tip-off on Wednesday at the Jon M. Huntsman Center at 6 p.m. on the Pac-12 Network and KSL Newsradio.

The Crimson Corner podcast is the one-stop for all things University of Utah Athletics hosted by Utah insider Trevor Allen. Ute fans will find interviews with current players, coaches, and staff alongside expert analysis of every game, story and angle coming out of the University of Utah.

You can download and listen to the podcast, here.

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