Utah basketball: Pint-sized backcourt in Utes' future
At the Pac-12 level, coaches want their teams to be as big and as long as possible at every position.
But you won't see that kind of length from the Utes this year. In fact, for the remainder of the season, it will probably be just the opposite.
Strangely, Utah's best defensive lineup this past weekend against Washington included Brandon Taylor and Glen Dean, neither of whom is taller than 5-foot-9. Both of them, however, are quick defensively. Dean, the junior starter at point guard, is strong and plays angles well.
"It worked against Washington, so we want to see if it will work consistently," Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak said. "We think that Glen is strong enough and smart enough to be successful guarding both positions."
With Taylor's emergence at point guard, the freshman will demand a lot of minutes going forward. Still, the coaching staff doesn't want to de-emphasize Dean, who has developed into a team leader and one of the guys who knows how to run Krystkowiak's offense.
The junior from Seattle proved his worth defensively, locking down Washington's C.J. Wilcox on Saturday night. He is also a good shooter, which makes him capable of playing shooting guard offensively.
"Glen is the guy I have the most chemistry with," Taylor said. "When we play together, our team usually wins. We just kind of know what the other is going to do. I love playing with him."
For so much of the season, Utah has struggled to score points.
Over the last week, though, the Utes have been for them a scoring machine. Utah scored 65 points in a loss to Washington State last week, and dropped 74 in the victory at Washington. Those represent the highest scoring outputs of the Pac-12 Conference schedule for Utah. It's just the seventh time this season the Utes have scored as many as 70 points.
"We are playing better offensively," Krystkowiak said. "We're running harder, becoming more crisp in our cuts, and it's resulting in better and easier looks at the basket."
Playing on Sunday
Because of the Pac-12 schedule, Utah and Stanford will face each other in a rare Sunday night game at the Huntsman Center. Tipoff is 7 p.m.
Krystkowiak is aware playing on Sunday goes against the grain of the marketplace, but hopes fans will show up just the same.
"It's kind of out of our control," Krystkowiak said. "We have to play when they tell us to play. Hopefully we can get a good crowd out to the game. We have to give people incentive to come, however."
Cal at Utah
O Thursday, 6:30 p.m.