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Running Utes off to Puerto Rico in November

The Runnin' Utes kick off their 2015-16 season in Puerto Rico at the Puerto Rico Tip-Off.

Godofredo Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Running Utes will start off their 2015-16 season in Puerto Rico, where they will take part in the "Puerto Rico Tip-off" November 19-22. The tournament will take place in San Juan, Puerto Rico at the Roberto Clemente Coliseum. The eight team preseason tournament is slated to include Utah, Miami, Minnesota, Texas Tech, Butler, Missouri State, Temple and Mississippi State.

The Utes first opponent will be Texas Tech on November 19th. The Red Raiders will be underdogs to the Utes after finishing last season 13-9 and finishing just 3-15 in Big 12 play. The Red Raiders coach Tubby Smith is entering his third year in Lubbock however, and has a history of beating Utah while with Kentucky.

The Utes will face the winner of the Miami - Mississippi State matchup if they are able to defeat Texas Tech. The other side of the bracket will pit Temple against Minnesota and Missouri State against Butler in the first round.

Other than Tubby Smith, the Utes may see another familiar face in Ben Howland if things break right. Howland, the former UCLA coach took over at Mississippi State in March after a two year hiatus from coaching.

Looking through the list of teams, Utah should have a decent shot at winning this tournament, which would be a great way to follow up their sweet sixteen appearance and kick off the 2015-16 season. Butler is the only other team in the field to finish last season in the top-25 and make the NCAA tournament.

Utah will have the best talent overall in the tournament, and Krystkowiak has proven to be a great motivator for this team. This tournament will provide a great platform for players like Kyle Kuzma and Brekkott Chapman to emerge as leaders on the team after serving as role players last season. Jakob Poeltl will also have an opportunity to make an early splash in what should be his final season with the Utes.