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Utah basketball: Utes want progress out of exhibition

Published October 31, 2013 9:32 pm

In team's only tuneup, forward and center spots will be focal point.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Utah's exhibition game against St. Martin's on Friday night isn't about putting on a show for the faithful at the Huntsman Center.

It's not about running the floor, dunking the ball, throwing alley-oops or making crowd-pleasing plays.

Instead, it's about waking up on Saturday morning, looking at film and coming to the conclusion that the team got better.

Those were the words and sentiments around the team this week. Friday marks Utah's lone dress rehearsal before the real thing begins Nov. 8 against Evergreen State. Being as good as possible in a game setting seems to be the only goal of the Utes — even if the opponent is likely not to pose a big threat.

"The game is about us," Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak said. "We have a lot of things to clean up on both sides of the ball, and we have a lot of improvements to make."

Specifically, the Utes want to find out as much about themselves as possible. Krystkowiak wants to see who responds well under the pressure of a game situation. He wants to make decisions on his rotation, particularly at small forward and center. He wants to see the defense play better. He wants to see more precision and execution offensively.

And he wants some confirmations as well. Five weeks into practice, all signs point to forward Jordan Loveridge and guard Delon Wright as the Utes' the two headliners. Krystkowiak wants to see them and everybody else, under game conditions.

Most importantly, it's the first chance for Utah to play against players in a different uniform. And while St. Martin's lacks the Utes' athleticism, the Saints do have a lot of size to offer.

"It will be nice to play against someone that doesn't know all of our plays," Loveridge said. "In practice, guys can cheat plays a little bit. So we're going to have to go out there and execute. It's going to be a challenge for us and we're excited."

tjones@sltrib.com

St. Martin's at Utah

O Exhibition

Friday, 7 p.m.