Runnin’ Utes Preparing For Big Test Against Arizona Schools

Jan 4, 2024, 11:54 AM

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah men’s basketball has been rolling early on in the 2023-24 season despite not cracking the AP Top 25 rankings yet but will have another great opportunity to make a case for themselves against the Arizona schools this week.

The Utes start their quest late Thursday night against Arizona State with a 9:00 pm MT tip that can be viewed on ESPN2.

Utah will then be tasked with taking on No. 10 Arizona on Saturday, January 5 at 6:00 pm MT that can be viewed on Pac-12 Networks.

Both schools have given the Utes fits in the past, but Utah head coach Craig Smith is hopeful his team is in a good spot to make some noise in conference play.

Time For Utah Basketball To Go On The Road Against Arizona Schools

The Runnin’ Utes got off to a great start last weekend hosting the Washington schools going 2-0 and having one of their star players in Branden Carlson have a career-high weekend.

However, the season is only just starting, and the Utes know how big this weekend on the road against the Arizona schools could be for them.

“It’s been a while since we’ve been on the road,” Smith said. “Since the St. Mary’s game whenever that was. Late November? Early December? We are in conference play now and it’s a good thing, though, you look at the history- it’s been a long, long, long time since we’ve won at Arizona, and it’s been since 2019 since we’ve won at Arizona State. This has been a very difficult road trip for the Utes historically and we are going to have to play awfully well.”

It’s not just last weekend that’s giving Utah some confidence. As Smith pointed out, his team had a great month of December in out-of-conference play and currently sits at 11-2 on the season. A far cry from how Utah has looked for several years now at this point in the season.

“It’s going to be a very difficult road trip, but at the same time, we’re coming off a great month of December,” Smith said. “We have some momentum, and we just need to continue to play well.”

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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Runnin’ Utes Preparing For Big Test Against Arizona Schools