Craig Smith, Utah Men’s Basketball Looking Forward To First Road Test

Nov 16, 2023, 2:03 PM

SALT LAKE CITY – The Runnin’ Utes are on the road for the first official time in the 2023-24 season and head coach Craig Smith says everyone is looking forward to it.

Utah will be participating in the Charleston Classic starting Thursday, November 16 against Wake Forest. You can catch the game at 7:00 pm MT on ESPNU.

Depending on tonight’s results, Utes will then take on either Houston or Towson tomorrow night.

Craig Smith Discusses Excitement For First Road Trip

The Runnin’ Utes will be joined in the Charleston Classic this week by some of the best college basketball has to offer and Smith was not shy about expressing the excitement he and his team feel about the opportunity ahead.

“This is a great event put on by ESPN,” Smith said. “Great tournament. I mean, a top 10 team there. St. John’s with Rick Pitino, LSU has obviously been very, very good over the years. Our opponent- Wake Forest- Steve Forbes is a great coach and is a historic program. Dayton has been really good. Towson has won a ton of games over the last few years, so, I think our guys are super excited for the opportunity and challenge.”

So far, Utah has shown promise of continued steady improvement early in their season at home against talent they should be expected to beat. Things get a little more real for this Utah team this week on the road against considerably better talent.

In preparation to hopefully take that next step with his team, Smith says the Utes went all out in their closed scrimmage a few weeks back.

“We did something different this year,” Smith said. “We get a closed scrimmage that is not open to the public and it’s the first time since I’ve been a head coach at Utah or Utah State that we went on the road. I can’t say who, but we went on the road. We took an airplane, did the whole thing. Stayed in a hotel- did our whole game routine to try and get a true feel for what that looks like and we played a high, major opponent. There was a method to the madness to get that out of our system, but you can feel it- our guys are kind of giddy/excited. It’s the first road trip. There is something special about having eight teams at one venue. It’s a great field, so when you see that, of course, it brings the competitive juices out to their fullest. It’ll be good to go through that, but it’s just an exciting time of year when you see all of these teams playing.”

Michelle Bodkin is the Utah Utes Insider for KSLsports.com and host of both the Crimson Corner Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and The Saturday Show (Saturday from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.) on The KSL Sports Zone. Follow her on XInstagram, and Threads: @BodkinKSLsports

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Craig Smith, Utah Men’s Basketball Looking Forward To First Road Test