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Matt Piper and Kyle Goon
Matt Piper and Kyle Goon cover University of Utah sports teams for The Salt Lake Tribune. Matt Piper is on twitter at @matthew_piper, Kyle Goon is on twitter at @kylegoon

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Utah basketball schedule built for wins

Update: Larry Krystkowiak, reached as he sat at a campfire in Montana on Wednesday, said the priority in building the hoops schedule was securing the tournament at the Huntsman Center over Thanksgiving and building some excitement with Idaho State, Central Michigan and Wright State coming to town.

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As far as the schedule being perceived as soft or built for wins, Krystkowiak said the team had to be strategic about how it arranged its preseason.

"Scheduling is a big part of building a program, along with recruiting," he said. "You can't bite off more than you can chew. I thought we did last year."

Krystkowiak said he's trying to build the program to a point it can "schedule some preseason opponents that I think we'll be excited to play" but for now "we're going to try to schedule teams that fit the level of our program."

If you're curious what the Utes were looking for in opponents — and can't tell by the schedule — an ad posted to the website BasketballTravelers.com, Craigslist-meets-eHarmony for college basketball coaches, sought matchups for November and December.

"Our RPI is 274," the post read, "and we would like to start the series with a similar RPI team."

In the post, the Utes said they were seeking an opponent for Nov. 12-14 or Dec. 17-19. They don't play on those dates, so its unclear if they had any takers. Either way, it's interesting to see how scheduling matchups are made.

Anyhow, for the original post and complete schedule, read on...

***

The Utah men's basketball team announced it's schedule for the upcoming season and the nonconference slate appears built for wins for a program which last year won six games overall.

They could get more than that before Pac-12 games begin on Jan. 3 at Arizona. After an exhibition against Division II Simon Fraser, the Utes will begin its games that count against Division III Willamette and will also play NAIA Evergreen State (mascot: the Geoduck, which is a clam).

On Twitter, Yahoo! college basketball analyst Jeff Eisenberg called the schedule "Charmin soft."

For the first time since 1988, the Utes will host a regular-season tournament. They will play games on Nov. 21, 23 and 24 against Central Michigan, Idaho State and Wright State, the order of which will be determined later.

The schedule offers only one in-state opponent, BYU. The Utes travel to Provo on Dec. 8.

The Utes will not play any member of a BCS conference in the preseason, although they have a home-and-home with Southern Methodist, which will be in its first season under Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown. The Utes will travel to SMU on Nov. 28 and host the Mustangs on Dec. 18.

The Utes finished 6-25 last year, and won three games in the preseason.

In conference play the Utes will have home-and-home matchups with seven teams. They will only play UCLA and USC at home, on Jan. 10 and 12, and will only play at Washington State and Washington, on Jan. 17 and 19.

The full schedule, as announced by the Utes Wednesday:

Nov. 2 • Simon Fraser (exhibition)

Nov. 9 • Willamette

Nov. 16 • Sacramento State

Nov. 21 • Central Michigan/Idaho State/Wright State

Nov. 23 • Central Michigan/Idaho State/Wright State

Nov. 24 • Central Michigan/Idaho State/Wright State

Nov. 28 • at SMU

Nov. 30 • at Texas State

Dec. 5 • Boise State

Dec. 8 • at BYU

Dec. 14 • Evergreen State

Dec. 18 • SMU

Dec. 21 • Cal State Northridge

Jan. 3 • at Arizona

Jan. 5 • at Arizona State

Jan. 10 • UCLA

Jan. 12 • USC

Jan. 17 • at Washington State

Jan. 19 • Washington

Jan. 24 • Stanford

Jan. 26 • California

Feb. 2 • California

Feb. 7 • at Oregon

Feb. 9 • at Oregon State

Feb. 14 • Arizona State

Feb. 16 • Arizona

Feb. 23 • at Colorado

Feb. 28 • at Colorado

Feb. 28 • at California

March 2 • at Stanford

March 7 • Oregon State

March 9 • Oregon

March 13-16 • Pac-12 Conference Tournament; MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas



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