Larry Krysktkowiak has won recruiting battles because of UCLA, most notably with Jordan Loveridge, the freshman power forward.
Once Utah moved into the Pac-12 Conference, the Utes began to compete for players that have a better star rating than the ones they recruited in the Mountain West.
Loveridge and his family more than once over the past year have told this blog that choosing the Utes came down to being able to compete at the highest level of college basketball for the most part. That's why Loveridge spurned Utah State and BYU and Colorado State for Utah.
Now, however, the Utes actually get to see the Bruins on the court in the Huntsman Center.
"Sometimes, you have to be careful what you wish for," Krystkowiak said.
"It's nice to get into the living rooms of some of these kids, but at some point you have to actually play the games."
So UCLA will bring a high-powered offense into the Huntsman Center, a number of future NBA players led by Shabazz Muhammad and a seven-game winning streak built on defense and scoring the ball.
It will be a difficult matchup for a Utah team that hasn't quite matched that talent level throughout its program.
"I told my players that if this were a one-on-one matchup, or a wrestling meet, it wouldn't turn out that good for us," Krystkowiak said. "So we have to make it a team game and play team basketball. This is a proud basketball community. I want the guys to be able to soak it in, and then to go out and play well."
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