UTAH UTES

Utah Men’s Basketball Hoping To End Road Woes In Los Angeles

Feb 15, 2024, 10:42 AM

SALT LAKE CITY –ย The Runnin’ Utes will be in Los Angeles this weekend taking on USC and UCLA in hopes of ending their road woes in conference play.

It’s no secret Utah fell flat against Arizona State in the lead up to their road trip. The loss has even cast some doubt amongst fans as to whether this team can “get it done” and stamp a ticket to the Big Dance.

Utah head coach Craig Smith was on hand earlier in the week to discuss the Utes’ shortcomings against ASU and what his team needs to do to finish the regular season strong.

Utah Basketball ‘Letting The Poison Out’

Upon further review of last Saturday’s loss to the Sun Devils, Smith says the Utes didn’t play as bad as he initially thought. However, he noted it’s hard because expectations are high, and they didn’t get it done at home where they have typically been very good.

“We have to really concentrate on what we are doing well, what we aren’t doing quite as well and how to get better,” Smith said. “The Saturday game, honestly, we played better than what I had thought when we rewatched the film. We did some things a lot better than I thought, but certainly there were some breakdowns there I thought more mentally than anything. Some of the guys looked a half-step slower than normal. Is that mental fatigue? Physical fatigue?”

With all of that said, Smith is confident his team is right where they need to be. Now it’s a matter of getting the bad taste out of their mouths and making the most of the games they know they have left.

“A friend who has been in the business a long time used to always say this, ‘you’ve got to let the poison out,'” Smith said. “I watched our game the night after the game- that Saturday night and of course again on Sunday and we’re prepping for UCLA and USC and we’re just not happy. You got to let the poison out. I know what we do works. You’re always trying to fine-tune it, tinker and put guys in a great position to succeed, but now we move on. We have seven regular season games left and a conference tournament game that is guaranteed. That’s eight games we know we have left in the season.”

Utah’s Sights Turned To USC, UCLA

That guaranteed eight game stretch for the Utes starts with USC on Thursday, February 15 with a 9:00 pm MT tip that fans can view on FS1.

The Trojans have struggled a lot this year sitting second to last in conference play. However, that doesn’t mean they aren’t talented and capable of putting together a good game- especially now that they are healthier than they’ve been all season.

“They’ve had a lot of different injuries,” Smith said. “Boogie Ellis has had a hamstring going on for a while- I think he missed three games not too long ago. Isaiah Collier who I believe was the No. 1 rated recruit in last year’s class and at one point was projected to be the No. 1 pick in the Draft and is certainly still projected to be a lottery pick- he missed I believe six games with a hand injury. Just came back last weekend- he was really good last weekend in both their games. They are very talented; they just have had a lot of guys sustain various injuries throughout the course of the year.”

Smith went on to say that USC is deep, and they can play a lot of guys and that a lot of their guys have played out of necessity making them very experienced. It’s going to be up to Utah to figure out who the Trojans might be rolling with and how to stop them.

“We have to figure out who they are playing,” Smith said. “This is going to be a big personnel game. We really need to understand their personnel- what they do well and try to take it away. We’ve got to be better on the defensive end and then what do we have to do on the road? St. Mary’s is ranked in the Top 25- our first true road game- that was a heckuva win for us. That’s a Quad 1 win and we haven’t been nearly as good since for a multitude of reasons. I think at the end of the day, we’ve got to be better on the defensive end.”

Michelle Bodkin is the Utah Utes Insider for KSLsports.com and host of both the Crimson Corner Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) andย The Saturday Showย (Saturday from 10 a.m.โ€“12 p.m.) on The KSL Sports Zone. Follow her onย X,ย Instagram, andย Threads: @BodkinKSLsports

Are you on Threads yet? Letโ€™s connect, give us a follow @kslsports.ย 

Download the new & improved KSL Sports app from Utahโ€™s sports leader. You can stream live radio, video and stay up to date on all of your favorite teams.

  • Utah Utes Scoreboard

  • Utah Utes Team Leaders

  • Utah Utes Standings

Utah Utes

alani-sabado-jaedyn-rucker-maile-okeefe-abby-paulson-pose-on-senior-night-at-huntsman-center-2024...

Michelle Bodkin

LSU Earns First Title In Program History, Utah Gymnastics Places Third

The Red Rocks take third place at Nationals for the fourth year in a row while the LSU Tigers earned their first title in program history.

1 day ago

deivon-smith-dunks-ball-during-nit-game-at-the-huntsman-center-2024...

Michelle Bodkin

Report: Runnin’ Ute Deivon Smith Enters NCAA Transfer Portal

Reports surfaced Friday that Runnin' Ute Deivon Smith has entered the NCAA Transfer Portal and will not be with the team in 2025.

2 days ago

carly-dockendorf-hugs-abby-paulson-during-red-rocks-gymnastics-meet-2024...

Michelle Bodkin

Utah Gymnastics Hoping To Continue Trend Of High Viewership For Women’s Sports

Women's sports are having a moment setting records and the Red Rocks hope to set a few more as they compete for a National Title.

3 days ago

red-rocks-celebrate-ella-zirbes-bars-routine-at-huntsman-center-2024...

Michelle Bodkin

How To Watch Utah Gymnastics Compete For A National Title

The Red Rocks have a prime opportunity to earn a National Title after putting on a dominant performance to win their semifinal bracket.

3 days ago

DeMarlo Slocum...

Michelle Bodkin

Report: Utah Assistant Coach DeMarlo Slocum To Join Danny Sprinkle At Washington

DeMarlo Slocum is heading up to Seattle to join former USU head coach Danny Sprinkle at Washington as an assistant.

3 days ago

red-rocks-at-sprouts-farmers-market-collegiate-quad-meet-at-maverik-center-2024...

Michelle Bodkin

No. 1 Oklahoma Fails To Advance, No. 5 Utah Leads Charge At Nationals Semifinals

After securing their fourth straight Pac-12 Title the Red Rocks are focused on making a run in their 48th straight appearance at Nationals.

3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

ksl-sports-newsletter...

KSL Sports

KSL Sports Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the KSL Sports newsletter. Get the latest Utah sports news delivered to your inbox.

...

KSL Sports

Jazz Notes Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the Jazz Notes newsletter. Get insider analysis, game recaps and opportunities to win tickets!

Follow @kslsports...

The Road Home Mediathon 2023

The KSL Sports Zone and KSLSports.com are proud to support the all-day Mediathon 2023 at the Road Home, an annual tradition to raise money and other essential items for the Road Home, a Homeless Shelter.

3 kids wearing real salt lake jerseys smiling...

Real Salt Lake

6 Reasons You Need to Experience a RSL Matchday

RSL Games are a great way to spend time with your family with fun activities, good food, and traditions you can only experience at the field.

High angle view of the beautiful Rose Bowl Stadium...

KSL Digital Sales

How to Prepare for the 2023 Rose Bowl

Everything you need to know to plan your 2023 Rose Bowl trip in Pasadena, California. This year, the Utes will face Penn State.

Jordan-Clarkson-Utah-Jazz...

KSL Digital Sales

Notable Moments From The Utah Jazz Season… So Far

At the beginning of the season, the Utah Jazz were second to last. Now they rank in the top 10 teams in the Western Conference.

Utah Men’s Basketball Hoping To End Road Woes In Los Angeles