The No. 19-ranked Runnin' Utes (25-8) survived their first round matchup with Stephen F. Austin, and their reward is a Round of 32 game with the Big East's Georgetown Hoyas (22-10). This will be the first time in the history of Utah basketball they will face off with the storied Hoyas.
Utah posted 17 turnovers in the first round, six by All Pac-12 guard Delon Wright. That is something Utah definitely can't afford against a team as long, talented, and athletic as they are.
In some ways, the Utes were saved by a big game from their Austrian freshman Jakob Poeltl. The import 7-footer put up 18 points, eight rebounds, and five blocked shots Poeltl's presence in the paint forced the Lumberjacks into awkward shots and hesitation around the rim. And that is something Utah needs to see more of, especially where Georgetown has a talented big in 6-10, 350-pound Joshua Smith.
Utah forward Jordan Loveridge pitched in 12 points and five rebounds. While Loveridge's scoring is vital, his defense and decision making needs to be better. On one series against Stephen F. Austin, Loveridge made bad in-bounds pass, which was stolen, then fouled Walkup on a layup, resulting in a 3-point turnaround. Jordan is a smart, hard-working player, but Utah cannot afford such mistakes from their upper classmen, especially against a team like Georgetown who will take full advantage.
Utah and Georgetown tip off today at 5:45 p.m. on CBS.