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Blog: Utah Hoops - Utes put new importance on rebounding

First Published      Last Updated Feb 11 2014 07:32 pm

After being bludgeoned on the boards against Arizona and Colorado, Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak had enough. He challenged his team to be more physical. He wanted them to be more aggressive. Most importantly, he wanted them to be....tougher.

The Utes responded last week in wins over Washington and Washington State. Jordan Loveridge had 13 rebounds in the win over the Huskies. Brandon Taylor - yes, little Brandon Taylor - had eight in the victory over Washington State.

Now comes the hard part.

Don't believe us? We'll let Krystkowiak explain it.

"The reality is, Washington and Washington State were two of the smaller teams in the league," Krystkowiak said. "USC and UCLA are two of the bigger teams."

That means going from 6-foot-7 Perris Blackwell to 7-2 Omar Orabi. That means going from D.J. Shelton to the Wear twins from UCLA. It will be quite a challenge for Utah this week to get defensive stops and to finish those defensive stops with rebounds.

If the Utes can do this, chances of winning increase. If they can't, chances of frustration increase. This and containing turnovers, are going to be perhaps the biggest two areas for Utah as it tries to find that elusive road victory.

Should be interesting.

Tony Jones