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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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Krystkowiak not thrilled for Utah State series

The fact Utah basketball will renew its long-standing series with Utah State starting in 2014 was generally well received. However, Larry Krystkowiak, who played at Montana when Utah State coach Stew Morrill was a Grizzlies assistant, said this week that it wasn't his idea and that he was unsure about the arrangement.

"I'd rather not play Utah State at any time if I had my druthers," Krystkowiak said. "I think it's good for our state. We'll give it a shot for a couple years and reevaluate. It's something that's been done for a lot of years and I've got a relationship with Stew. I wasn't opposed. I was asked if I was willing to do it and I said, 'Yeah,' so we're going to go from there."

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Krystkowiak pointed to Kansas, a major-conference program that typically does not play Wichita State, a successful, in-state mid-major. The Utah coach's objection to playing Utah State seemed to be framed as a risk-reward issue.

"They're a great team," he said. "I think [Morrill] has done a tremendous job there. It's a hard place to get a win. Not many teams go in there and beat them on their court. I'm not playing the high and mighty Pac-12 kind of thing, but you won't see any other Pac-12 team playing them, that's for sure."

It's worth pointing out that USC will play at Utah State in 2013, but that is part of an arrangement that will send the USU football team to USC in 2013 and 2014.

Krystkowiak said it made more sense for Utah, Utah State, BYU and Weber State to all play each other annually when they were in like conferences. He said he would prefer to see an annual tournament with the four teams (although you would probably need to include Southern Utah, which this year joins WSU in the Big Sky Conference) at EnergySolutions Arena, a neutral venue.

— Bill Oram


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