UTAH UTES

Utah Head Coach Craig Smith Compares BYU Basketball To Showtime Lakers

Dec 8, 2023, 5:11 PM

Craig Smith - Utah Utes vs. Boston College...

(Photo courtesy of Utah Athletics)

(Photo courtesy of Utah Athletics)

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah Basketball head coach Craig Smith had some high praise for BYU ahead of the rivalry matchup in the Huntsman Center this weekend.

Smith compared the No. 14 BYU Cougars to the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1980s. LA made eight final appearances in the 80s and is widely considered one of the greatest teams in NBA history.

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“(BYU) looks really good,” Smith said. “Their numbers are really, really high all the way across the board. They kind of remind you of the Lakers of the 80s with Magic (Johnson, (James) Worthy, and Kareem (Abdul-Jabbar). They put a lot of pressure on you and play through the pass.”

Smith also spoke on the deep-rooted rivalry between the Utes and Cougars.

He said that rivalry games always bring another level of competition and Utah is ready for the challenge.

“It’s nice to be at home,” Smith said. “The anticipation, the circumstance, the pageantry, everything that goes with it. It’s such a great rivalry. It’s so cool for both fanbases and it’s one that I think most people circle on the calendar. The anticipation is exciting.”

RELATED: How To Watch Utah Utes Vs. BYU Cougars Men’s Basketball

Pulling out a win over a nationally ranked opponent is much harder if you’re shorthanded.

The Utes might have to do just that as senior big man Branden Carlson is questionable for Saturday’s game.

Smith said he is unsure of Carlson’s status but he is optimistic that the South Jordan native will be returning to the floor soon.

“I don’t know yet,” Smith said. “(Branden Carlson) didn’t really do anything yesterday. We’ll see how things go at practice today.”

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Chandler Holt is a co-host for the Jazz Notes podcast and a Digital Sports Producer for KSLSports.com, specializing in all things basketball and football. Follow Chandler on Twitter @ChandlerHoltKSL or on Threads @chandlerho1t.

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