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.
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