Colorado vs Utah Basketball Preview and Prediction
Colorado vs Utah Preview
Both teams in this Pac-12 matchup have dreams of climbing up the rankings and making noise in a conference that is wide open.
For the Colorado Buffaloes (10-6, 1-3) the team is looking to rebound in more ways than one–they are looking to rebound from a loss to Washington, rebound from injuries sustained in that game, along with rebounding without fouling–something they have struggled with especially last game.
Due to myriad factors — injuries, academic issues, a sudden plague of foul trouble — the Buffs ended Saturday night’s 77-70 loss against Washington with only six scholarship players available. Some of it was temporary, with forwards Evan Battey and Lucas Siewert fouling out down the stretch. Some of it was self-inflicted, with junior guard Deleon Brown in street clothes after being ruled academically ineligible. And some of it was due to the unpredictable nature of injuries, with point guard McKinley Wright adding his name to the list of CU’s walking wounded after leaving Saturday’s game in the first half due to a left shoulder injury.
Eight days off could be a factor in the turnaround, whether it be getting healthy or resting up to focus on a difficult road matchup that will sure to provide a rowdy environment.
“They’ve got great fans, they average over 10,000 fans a game,” Boyle said. “They’re second in the league behind Arizona in terms of home attendance. They have a passionate fan base that cares about basketball. They have good basketball tradition and Larry (Krystkowiak) and his staff do a very good job.”
Indeed, the Utah faithful are exactly that. The Utes averaged 11,710 per home game last year, second in the league only to Arizona’s 14,435.
But it’s more than just the fans. The Utes also usually have some very good players, and while this year is a rebuilding year to a degree, Krystkowiak still has some quality players, beginning with senior guard Sedrick Barefield, who is averaging 15.4 points and 3.8 assists per game.
“Sedrick Barefield is a guy that can go off on any given half or game,” Boyle said. “He’s an explosive, dynamic scorer who is a very, very talented offensive player.”
The Utes are coming off an 88-70 conference win over Washington State this past Saturday at the Huntsman Center.
Buffs sophomore guard McKinley Wright. Will he be healthy after injuring his shoulder in their last game? If he is dealing with any lingering effects, it will present a great challenge to CU pulling off the road victory.
On the season Wright is averaging 12.9 points, 4.9 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 1.5 steals while shooting 51 percent from the field. Long story short, the BUffs will go as far as Wright will take them.
LINE: -4 Utah
Dan’s Bet: Under 146
Score Prediction: Utah 71 Colorado 70