Red All Over: Utes will simulate a road trip this weekend, trying to improve their home-court performance

Utah is 5-1 on the road and 2-3 at home in Pac-12 basketball.

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Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak was ready with an answer, when questioned about why the Utes haven’t played their best basketball at the Huntsman Center.

He's taking his team on the road this weekend.

The Utes will spend Friday night at a hotel, between Thursday’s game vs. Arizona and Saturday’s contest vs. Arizona State. Major college football teams typically stay at a hotel before home games, but this is an unusual move in basketball.

Will it help? The Utes started poorly against Oregon State on Feb. 2, the last time they concluded a two-game homestand. And they’ve played well in all six of their Pac-12 road games, although they lost at Arizona in overtime and trailed UCLA by 22 points before coming to life in a 93-92 victory last Saturday.

Utah is 5-1 on the road and 2-3 at home in Pac-12 play. The Utes are the extreme case of a Pac-12 trend. Road teams are 31-38 (.449) in conference play, challenging the all-time high of .484, set in 2007-08 in the Pac-10 era.

The Utes have four home games remaining, against Arizona and three teams they beat on the road: Arizona State, USC and UCLA. Thanks to Colorado’s win over ASU on Wednesday, Utah (7-4) is tied with Oregon State for second place and Arizona (5-6) is alone in 10th place. That’s crazy.

Our stories of the past week

The Ute football team wrapped up its February recruiting period, while hoping at the time to land Orem’s Puka Nacua (he signed with Washington). (TRIB)

Utah already had somewhat compensated for that loss by signing prep running back Jordan Wilmore, who continued a trend at the position. (TRIB)

This profile of Ute basketball player Riley Battin coincided with his best week of the Pac-12 season, in homecoming games at USC and UCLA. There are a lot of layers to his story, including a UCLA angle. (TRIB)

Parker Van Dyke’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer at UCLA will be long remembered. (TRIB)

Thanks to that rally, the Utes have played their way back in the competition for a top-four seed in the Pac-12 tournament. (TRIB)

Then again, Utah is only two games ahead of 10th-place Arizona. Krystkowiak has never seen parity like this. (TRIB)

So can the Utes take advantage of Arizona’s downturn? They’ve beaten the Wildcats only once, and that required a great effort in front of a sellout crowd in 2016. (TRIB)

The Ute women’s basketball team couldn’t quite get traction in a loss to USC. (TRIB)

And the Utes allowed 40 points in the fourth quarter of a loss to UCLA, giving up 100 points in regulation for the first time since 1986. (TRIB)

The result? South Dakota replaced Utah in the AP Top 25. (TRIB)

The Ute gymnastics team keeps performing well, defeating California. (TRIB)

Macey Roberts is a big reason for the Red Rocks’ success. (TRIB)

Other voices

Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News keeps probing into the state of the Pac-12, with this report about the Pac-12 Networks. It’s worse than you thought. (MERC)

Dirk Facer of the Deseret News chronicled Ute center Jayce Johnson’s upward trend (DNEWS).

The Arizona Daily Star has a thorough scouting report of Utah vs. Arizona. (STAR)

Around campus

• The Ute lacrosse team claimed the program’s first victory, defeating Mercer 13-9 last Saturday at Judge Memorial’s McCarthey Stadium, as Alpine product Josh Stout scored seven goals. With 10 goals in two games, Stout is tied for third in the country.

The Utes (1-1) will play four road games over the next three weekends, beginning Saturday at Hofstra in Hempstead, N.Y. Hofstra opened the season with a 4-3 upset of then-No. 13 Lehigh.

• Utah’s softball team went 4-1 in Arizona State’s season-opening event. The Utes will play five games this weekend at Clearwater, Fla., facing four ranked opponents on Friday and Saturday: No. 18 Kentucky, No. 17 Oklahoma State, No. 23 Ohio State and No. 6 Tennessee. Utah will meet Hofstra on Sunday. Julia Nofskin went 8 of 19 (.421) at the plate for Utah last weekend.

• At Washington’s indoor track and field field meet, Utah’s Sarah Feeny broke the school record in the 3,000 meters by running 9 minutes, 11.46 seconds. Fenny finished 14th.