The Utes are back on the hardwood for a little holiday tournament action in the Wooden Legacy. The Utes will open up action against Hawaii, and then could take on Seton Hall or Grand Canyon on Friday. On the other side of the bracket is La Salle, Miami, Northwestern and Fresno State. The Utes played well against an overmatched opponent last week against Mississippi Valley State, but we saw some good things from this young team. We saw the likes of Donnie Tillman play very well, as well as youngsters Timmy Allen and Vante Hendrix, not to mention the JC player of the year last year Charles Jones, who knocked down four threes last game. A tournament like this will give the coaching staff a good feel for how the team reacts in quick turnaround scenarios, and gets them a lot of run in a short period of time. It’s a late tip, 9:30 p.m., but I want to see the Utes continue to progress, especially on the offensive side of the ball. The defense will round into form, it’s a Coach K and Tommy Conner coached team, but the offense is going to continue to take some work with so many new guys. Namely, as I keep saying, who is the guy that will busts slumps for the Utes. So far it’s been Hendrix and Tillman, with Sedrick Barefield playing a roll too. It’s going to be important for this team to figure out all the rolls as we continue through this non-conference season.
More info about Hawaii from the official release:
The Rainbow Warriors are 3-1 overall on the season, having picked up wins against Portland (82-64), Humboldt State (90-54) and most recently, Northern Arizona (85-68). Hawaii was defeated, 68-51, to North Texas in the championship game of the Outrigger Resorts Rainbow Classic back on Nov. 11.
The Rainbow Warriors went 17-13 overall last season, which included an 8-8 record in the Big West Conference. Hawaii fell to UC Irvine in the BWC Tournament and failed to make the postseason a year ago.
Hawaii averages 77.0 points per game, while giving up 63.5 points to opponents so far this season. The Rainbow Warriors shoot .464 from the field, .356 from downtown and .647 from the charity stripe. The squad is led by Zigmars Raimo’s 13.8 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. Raimo also leads the team with a .686 field goal shooting percentage. Drew Buggs averages 8.0 points per game, but leads the team with 24 assists on the year.
How to watch:
GAME 4: Utah (2-1) vs. Hawaii (3-1)
WHERE: Fullerton, Calif. (Titan Gym)
WHEN: Thursday, Nov. 22, 2018
TIP-OFF: 8:30 p.m. PT
TELEVISION: ESPN2 / WatchESPN