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Utah Basketball: Digging into the Runnin' Utes Pre-Season 2016-17 Schedule

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Last week, the Runnin' Utes released their non-conference basketball schedule for the upcoming 2016-17 season. After a non-conference slate of Miami, Texas Tech, Duke, Wichita State, SDSU, and BYU this past season, the upcoming schedule left a little to be desired, but after some thought, it makes sense for the Utah team that is coming in.

Last year's team had four returning starters, and some proven depth off the bench. This year, almost the entire roster has turned over, really with only Kyle Kuzma and Lorenzo Bonam returning as primary contributors. Last year, it was about building RPI and getting a good seed for the NCAA Tournament, this year, is more about learning about this new squad and getting them ready for the rigors of the Pac-12 schedule. While there is no Duke, Butler and Xavier are two very good tests, especially with one on the road. Utah could also see San Diego State in the Diamond Head Classic.

Coach K actually said in a radio interview with ESPN700 said what I was alluding to above, that a different team requires a different scheduling mentality. A team full of returning starters and an All-American, you can a little more aggressive with the scheduling. With a team in a re-loading mode, you tend to want to scale back just a little bit.

A lot of fans aren't going to get their socks blown off by Concorida, Coppin State or UC Riverside, but it's those kinds of games where Utah can learn a little bit about their new guys, and what some potential rotations could look like. Then in the games against Butler and Xavier, Utah could have some good litmus tests to see how they react to some very good competition, similar to what they'd see in the Pac-12. Of course, having a non-conference tournament mixed in gives a young team some experience of what a tournament setting is like.

I'm like many fans, who were a bit let down with a lot of the names that were on the schedule, but once I thought about the team coming in for Utah, and what the coaches are probably trying to learn about their new squad before Pac-12 play, it made a lot of sense.

Weds. Oct. 19 - Night with the Runnin' Utes - Salt Lake City
Sat. Nov. 12 - Northwest Nazarene^ - Salt Lake City

Tues. Nov. 15 - Concordia - Salt Lake City

Fri. Nov. 18 - Coppin State - Salt Lake City
Fri. Nov. 25 - UC Riverside - Salt Lake City
Mon. Nov.28 - Butler - Salt Lake City
Thurs. Dec. 1 - Montana State - Salt Lake City
Tues. Dec. 6 - Utah Valley - Salt Lake City
Sat. Dec. 10 - at Xavier
Sat. Dec. 17 - Prairie View A&M - Salt Lake City
Thurs. Dec. 22 - vs. San Francisco% - Honolulu, Hawai'i
Fri. Dec. 23 - vs. Hawai'i or Illinois State% - Honolulu, Hawai'i
Sun. Dec. 24 - TBD% Honolulu, Hawai'i

^ - Exhibition

% - Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic