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Utah basketball: Utah to face Washington in first round of Pac-12 tournament

Published March 10, 2014 8:24 am

Pac-12 basketball • Utes again to face Pleasant Grove High graduate Wilcox.
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It took a few hours to figure out following Utah's 61-60 loss to Stanford on Saturday. But the Utes finally know their postseason fate. At least the first leg of the postseason.

Larry Krystkowiak's bunch claims the No. 8 seed in the Pac-12 Tournament, which means the Utes face Washington in the first game on Wednesday. It will be the third time the two teams have met this season, with each winning on its own floor. Round three will be at MGM Grand in Las Vegas, with the winner advancing to Thursday's quarterfinal to face top seed Arizona.

"We're ready to bounce back," Utah guard Brandon Taylor said. "The regular season is finished, a chapter is closed. We're ready for another chapter. We're looking forward to it."

In two matchups, Utah and Washington have taken turns exploiting the weaknesses of their opponent. In January, the Huskies used the size and shooting of Pleasant Grove native C.J. Wilcox to pull out a close win. Guard Andrew Andrews got hot in the second half, and Washington was able to curtail Jordan Loveridge en route to the victory.

At the Huntsman Center in February, the Utes used an effective scoring run in the second half to turn what had been a close game into a double-digit affair. Delon Wright dominated the final 20 minutes of that game, and Utah harassed Andrews into a miserable shooting performance.

Utah will have a size and athleticism advantage inside the paint Wednesday. Dallin Bachynski will be the best big man on the floor and the Huskies don't typically score inside.

But much of Utah's prospective success hinges on its mental state. The Utes — with a win over Stanford — would've secured a bye into Thursday's quarterfinal. But like so many of their losses during league play, one or two possessions sent them to a close defeat.

Utah's going to have to shore up the rebounding and its defense in order to advance.

"We just have to look forward to the next game," Krystkowiak said. "We're excited to be in the postseason, and it's a chance to go out and put ourselves in position to be successful."


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Pac-12 Tournament

P At MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas

First round, Wednesday

Utah vs. Washington, 1 p.m.

Colorado vs. Southern Cal, 3:30 p.m.

Oregon vs. Oregon State, 7 p.m.

Stanford vs. Washington State, 9:30 p.m.

Quarterfinals, Thursday

Arizona vs. Utah-Washington winner, 1 p.m.

California vs. Colorado-Southern Cal winner, 3:30 p.m.

UCLA vs. Oregon-Oregon State winner, 7 p.m.

Arizona State vs. Stanford-Washington State winner, 9:30 p.m.

Semifinals, Friday

Arizona—Utah-Washington winner vs. California—Colorado-Southern Cal winner, 7 p.m.

UCLA—Oregon-Oregon State winner vs. Arizona State—Stanford-Washington State winner, 9:30 p.m.

Championship, Saturday, March 15

Semifinal winners, 4 p.m.