The Utah men's basketball staff worked intently in the offseason to improve its non-conference schedule. One of those contests, vs. Kansas on December 13 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City at 2:15 p.m. CT, will now be televised live on ESPN, Utah announced today.
The two teams have played only once before with the Jayhawks earning the victory at Kemper Arena during the opener to the 1995-96 season. No. 2-ranked Kansas topped the No. 8-ranked Utes 79-68 despite 22 points and 10 rebounds from Utah's star forward, Keith Van Horn.
The Utes return a solid nucleus from a 21-win team in 2013-14 and will be trying to reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2009. Leading the Utes into Kansas City will be All Pac-12 first team point guard Delon Wright. Wright will be joined by local product and star forward Jordan Loveridge, as well as 7-foot senior center Dallin Bachynski and junior shooting guard/point guard Brandon Taylor.
Sophomore swingman Kenneth Ogbe (6-6, 188 pounds) will be called upon more this season with the departure of players like guard Ahmad Fields and swingman Princeton Onwas. Ogbe logged plenty of court time this summer with his German U-20 national team in the FIBA European Championships, finishing with averages of 4.9 points and 4.2 rebounds per game. That experience should continue to help the German mature and grow toward another season in the U.S. college game.
Utah will have several new contributors this season, as Utah head coach Larry Krystkowiak brought in a heralded recruiting class. Among the incoming players expected to contribute immediately are 6-8, 215-pound freshman forward Brekkot Chapman (Roy High School, Utah), 6-9, 190-pound redshirt freshman forward Kyle Kuzma (Rise Academy, Mich.), 6-7, 235-pound sophomore forward Chris Reyes (transfer from Citrus College), 6-2, 175-pound freshman point guard Isaiah Wright (Bora High School, Idaho), and 7-foot, 230-pound freshman center Jakob Poeltl (Austria).
Utah's opponent, Kansas, has won 10-straight Big XII conference titles and captured three national titles, finishing as the national runner-up during the 2011-12 season.