Utah's Larry Krystkowiak in favor of a 20-game Pac-12 schedule

Utah to honor Jon M. Huntsman Sr. before Thursday’s game.<br>

(Steve Griffin | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah head coach Larry Krystkowiak watches the action from the sideline during the Utah Utes vs Arizona State Sun Devils at the Huntsman Center on the University of Utah campus in Salt Lake City, Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018.

Count Utah men’s basketball coach Larry Krystkowiak among the Pac-12 Conference coaches in favor of going from an 18-game conference schedule to a 20-game schedule.

Krystkowiak said that the last time the conference discussed the matter, the argument was made that adding two more conference games would add losses to a conference team, which could work against the team in the Ratings Percentage Index.

“I think the assumption was made that we’ll all just schedule somebody that we can beat, and then we don’t have to take losses as a conference,” Krystkowiak said. “But that’s hard. It means that a number of teams have to come up with the revenue to buy a game, or you’re playing a home-and-home with somebody. Obviously, one of those years that’s daunting task to be on the road.

“I’m of the mindset to play more conference games.”

Krystkowiak also suggested that instead of locking in years ahead of time which teams will play twice, the conference develop a preseason ranking system to make sure teams expected to be near the top play each other more than once. He pointed to the example of last season and the Utes finishing fourth in the conference and only having one game apiece against Arizona and UCLA.

“One thing I know for sure is that midmajors and low majors aren’t going to have a chance to beat us if we’re not playing them,” Krystkowiak said. “You can almost create, maybe, another level. I think that’s what’s happening. You eliminate the opportunities some of those teams get for what would be considered a big win against a Power 5 conference. You almost shut out some of those opportunities by playing more conference games. I think there’s arguments both ways.”

Krystkowiak also expressed intrigue about the possibility of a 22-game conference schedule where everyone in the conference would play each other twice, essentially adding four home-and-home series against Power 5 teams to everyone’s schedule. He said there’s a case that could be a positive for the conference in terms of résumé building for postseason.

Road tested

Utah women’s basketball coach Lynne Roberts saw her team lose Thursday at home against Colorado, but bounced back with a win in Boulder, Colo., on Sunday.

“We’re 5-0 on the road and 1-5 at home [in Pac-12 play], which is completely backwards and frustrating,” Roberts said. “We’ve played some really good teams at home, but everybody in this league is good. I don’t know what it is. I wish I knew because we’d bottle it up and bring it back here.

“The players were joking with me at the airport when we were flying out of Denver on Sunday that maybe we should stay at a hotel here in Salt Lake the next time we play at home and re-create the road vibe. If it didn’t cost money, I’d do it. It’s not a bad idea.”

Huntsman tribute

Thursday’s men’s basketball game against Stanford will serve as the Cancer Awareness/Huntsman Strong game. Utah is offering free tickets through a mobile app or through E-ticket. Before the game, there will be a video tribute on the video board at the Huntsman Center and a moment of silence in honor longtime Utah donor, supporter and billionaire philanthropist Jon M. Huntsman Sr., who died last week.

Huntsman founded the Huntsman Cancer Institute on the university’s campus. At halftime, there will be the annual “Teddy Bear Toss.” Fans are encouraged to bring a teddy bear to toss on the court during halftime as a donation as part of the event.

STANFORD AT UTAH<br>When • Thursday, 6 p.m.<br>TV • FS1