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Utah Hoops - Utes receive low grade from ESPN
First Published Sep 11 2013 05:10 pm • Last Updated Sep 11 2013 08:13 pm

>ESPN.com blogger Eamonn Brennan worte his yearly analysis of the non-conference schedule strength of the Pac-12 on Wednesday.

He wasn't very kind to Utah in what he thought of the Utes schedule. On a toughness scale, he gave Utah a three, which is fair considering the Utes play two teams in the non-conference – Boise State and BYU – who are expected to make an NCAA Tournament run, and one team in the Broncos as a true road game.

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Simply put, you're not going to get too many kudos when you play the vast majority of your games at the Huntsman Center. What's

interesting is that Brennan – a writer who this blog likes – basically seems to kill Utah's chances at the postseason. The term rebuild is still being thrown around when speaking of the Utes. Here is what Brennan wrote.

The Utes play one true road game in the nonconference. Boise State should be the second pick in the Mountain West, so that will be a tough one. The BYU rivalry game is at home this season, a plus for the Utes. But the rest of the schedule is weak. That's OK, considering Utah is trying to rebuild under Larry Krystkowiak. But they can't expect much of a postseason chance off this schedule.

If nothing else, it's safe to say that most of the media will still have the Utes pegged at the bottom of the Pac-12 when the preseason picks and magazines start filtering out. That's definitely going to be interesting.

Can Utah play above expectations? That will be intriguing to watch over the course of this year. In college basketball, respect isn't given lightly. The Utes will have two chances with Boise and BYU to earn some of that respect. At least now, the national pundits aren't given them much of an opportunity.

Tony Jones

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