The Runnin' Utes basketball team jumped up the rankings after beating then No. 8 Wichita State 69-68 in overtime. This week, Utah checks in at No. 13 in the AP Poll and No. 14 in the Coaches.
Utah leads the Pac-12 in scoring defense, holding opponents to just 56.9 points per game, while also being third in the league in scoring offense at 80.6 points per game.
Utah leads the Pac-12 in field goal percentage (.524), as well as 3-point field goal percentage (.443). However, unlike last year when the Utes led the league in 3-point field goal percentage defense, Utah is currently ninth in the league in that category, giving up .336 percent from behind the arc.
The Utes real weakness, as evidenced in the Wichita State game, is their free throw shooting. Utah is seventh in the Pac-12 in free throw shooting at .667 percent. Utah head coach Larry Krystkowiak knows that has to improve.
"We call it 'taking our daily vitamins,'" Krystkowiak said. "We've been taking 100 a day and we've been working with guys who have struggled on routines. We are only making 2-of-3 tries at the moment, which is not good. I'm not happy with the turnovers either so when we mess up in practice, we do a little running, a little conditioning. The sloppiness has to stop."
With newcomer Jakob Poeltl in the paint, Utah is second in the league in rebounding margin at +10.3 rebounds per game (Oregon leads the league at +10.4 per game).
The Utes are also second in the league in blocked shots at 6.86 per game.
Last year's All Pac-12 First Teamer Delon Wright is 10th in the conference in scoring at 15.0 points per game. The senior guard is also tied for fifth in assists at 5.14 dimes per game. Wright averages 1.71 steals per game, good for fifth in the Pac-12.
Poeltl is second in the Pac-12 in rebounding at 9.6 rebounds per game and is 23rd in the league in scoring at 12.0 points per game. The Austrian 7-footer is third in the conference in blocked shots at 3.0 blocks per game.
Poeltl leads the conference by a wide margin in field goal percentage at .738 percent shooting. Wright is 10th in the league in field goal percentage at .578 percent.
Utah's junior guard Brandon Taylor is third in a league of very good free throw shooters at a whopping .947 percent shooting from the line.
Next up for the Utes (6-1, 0-1 away) is Wednesday's trip to Provo to take on the BYU Cougars (7-2, 4-0 at home) in the annual rivalry game. The men in blue will be very ready this year, not only because the game is in the Marriott Center, but also because of joking comments by Krystkowiak after the big win over Wichita State. The Utes and Cougars tipoff at 7 p.m. MT in a battle for state supremacy and a recruiting leg up.
"This stretch of games really helps us simulate a tough Pac-12 road trip," Krystkowiak said. "We expect two hostile environments and we just want to keep following the blueprint. We survived against Wichita State and now we head in to two tough environments this week with BYU and Kansas."
AP Top 25 Poll
|1||Kentucky Wildcats (64)||9-0||1,600||1|
|2||Duke Blue Devils||8-0||1,518||4|
|11||Wichita State Shockers||5-1||929||8|
|12||Ohio State Buckeyes||6-1||808||14|
|14||Iowa State Cyclones||5-1||668||20|
|18||San Diego State Aztecs||6-2||390||13|
|21||North Carolina Tar Heels||6-2||350||12|
|22||West Virginia Mountaineers||8-1||313||16|
|23||Northern Iowa Panthers||8-0||232||26|
|24||St. John's Red Storm||6-1||211||39|
|25||Notre Dame Fighting Irish||8-1||200||47|
|Others Receiving Votes: Michigan St 120, Illinois 91, Georgetown 62, Iowa 60, Seton Hall 57, Baylor 49, TCU 45, Colorado St 28, Arkansas 22, California 19, Michigan 14, Creighton 7, Virginia Commonwealth 6, LSU 5, NC State 3, Indiana 3, Old Dominion 2, Yale 1, Dayton 1|
USA Today Coaches Poll
|16||San Diego State||6-1||230||14||14/17|
|Others Receiving Votes: Notre Dame 91; St. John?s 62; Michigan 45; Arkansas 38; Georgetown 34; Florida 31; Baylor 29; Iowa 29; Seton Hall 28; TCU 26; California 23; Creighton 12; Virginia Commonwealth 10; Nebraska 9; Colorado State 9; Louisiana Tech 8; Oklahoma State 5; North Carolina State 5; Providence 4; Old Dominion 3; UCLA 3; Saint Mary?s 1; LSU 1.|