Utah plays its one dress rehearsal tomorrow night at the Huntsman Center against St. Martin's. Here are some of the things to keep an eye out for as the Runnin' Utes prepare for their season-opener next week against Evergreen State.
1) Jordan Loveridge is in the process of making the leap from supporting character to lead role. The offense last year went largely through departed seniors Jarred DuBois and Jason Washburn. Loveridge will have a much bigger role as a sophomore. He will get more touches, higher usage and a big opportunity to improve on the 12 points per game he averaged as one of the better freshmen in the Pac-12.
2) The point guard role will be shared by Delon Wright and Brandon Taylor. Wright's talent has been a big revelation during the preseason, and he should be a central part of the offense. in many sets, Utah will have Taylor running off the ball, because he's more of a scorer than distributer. Still, there will be more people who can handle the ball than last season, and that's viewed as a giant positive.
3) How does Utah's size deal with.....ummmm.....size? Renan Lenz and Jeremy Olsen and Dallin Bachynski all have to answer a huge question. Can the Utes deal with anyone on their schedule with good size? That answer may not come against St. Martin's, but the Saints do have size. This one is to be continued.
4) How deep will the Utes go? For that answer focus in on the first half substitution pattern from Larry Krystkowiak. No official word yet, but the starting five looks somewhat like this: Taylor, Wright, Dakarai Tucker, Loveridge, Lenz. Olsen and Princeton Onwas will almost certainly be the first two off the bench. Freshman guard Kenneth Ogbe could be the eighth man. After that? Who knows.
5) Will they run? Will they speed things up. Utah's talked about playing faster. This is the first chance to actually do so.
Those are five questions/issues put forth for tomorrow night. It will be interesting to see how things play out.