Utah is bad. They are 332nd out of ..."/> Utah is bad. They are 332nd out of ..."/>

Game Preview: Utah


by: John Chase

Utah is bad. They are 332nd out of 342 teams in points per game at 57. They are 335th in rebounding with just under 30 a game. They are 294th in assists with 11. Finally, they are 262nd in field goal percentage with a 41% average. Does any of this matter? Not when it comes to the Huskies. Two days after getting demolished by what should have been an inferior Colorado team, the Dawgs face off against a Utes team that looked poised to pull off a second straight upset after beating WSU in overtime, 62-60.  Should the Huskies win this game? Absolutely. Will they? I have no flipping clue…When this team steps out of Hec-Ed its as if the Monstars from Space Jam step in and suck up their abilities, returning their powers when they come home.

Tony Wroten had a fairly stellar night against Colorado (minus the turnovers and some defensive rotations). 21 points, 7 steals (I’m pretty sure that is one of the top UW numbers in a while), 6 rebounds, and 3 assists. Terrence Ross was decent with 13 points and 10 rebounds, but the Dawgs need more out of him. Wilcox had a terrible shooting night, but I don’t buy his altitude story.

The only two players with double digit scoring for Utah are two of the four players who returned to the Utes squad after a tumultuous off-season. The Utes lost the other two due to injuries for a few weeks, though David Foster, the 7-3 255lb senior, remains out after having foot surgery in early November. For only returning 4 players, I am amazed their roster features 17 players. the Utes run a 7 or 8 man rotation, normally.

Josh Watkins leads the team in scoring with 15.5 per game as well as tops in assists (5.2) and turnovers (3.8). Watkins is not a 3-point threat, shooting only 20% on the season (9 of 44). He is not a great free throw shooter either, making less than 70% on the year. What allows him to be such a threat is his size allowing him to get in the lane. Watkins stands at only 6-0, but weighs in at 200lb giving him the weight and muscle needed to power through defenders in the lane. He also has a solid mid-range jumper that is tough to defend. After the poor defense UW showed against Colorado, I’m struggling  with deciding who could best attempt at shutting Watkins down. Perhaps Wroten will be the best bet as he tends to be one of the better one-on-one defenders in the league.

Josh Washburn is the only other double-digit scorer with 11.1 per game and leads the Utes in rebounding with 6.9 an outing. At 7-0 and 230lb, Washburn is “smaller” than Foster, but has shown to be more than capable as the go-to big man. Washburn is one of the most accurate shooters in the league hitting 60% of his shots and is a respectable 79% from the free throw line. Washburn will be tough to contain for UW, especially if Aziz N’Diaye gets into foul trouble. Washburn is fairly mobile, but has not attempted a 3-pointer yet this season.

Dijon Farr, Chris Hines, and Cedric Martin all average between 6 and 7 points per game and combine for 8 rebounds as well as 2 assists. Not sure what else to write about this team. I haven’t seen much of their play and what they have done has been pretty sub standard. After winning their season opener, Utah went on to lose their next 8 straight. They come in with a 1 game winning “streak”

Predicted Starting Line-Ups:


Josh Watkins 6-0 200lb
Anthony Odunsi 6-3 200lb
Cedric Martin 6-4 190lb
Dijon Farr 6-6 193lb
Jason Washburn 7-0 230lb


Abdul Gaddy 6-3 185lb
Tony Wroten 6-5 205lb
Terrence Ross 6-6 195lb
Darnell Gant 6-8 230lb (Gant may start, but I can guarantee Simmons will see just as much, if not more, time)
Aziz N’Diaye 7-0 260lb

Keys to the Game:

  • Remember the Court is the Same Size as Home – Pretty simple, right? Evidently not. Abdul Gaddy made what I consider to be one of the most honest, yet disturbing statements after last nights “game.” He said this is not a team that will score a lot of points on the road. Why? Why is that? Does Hec-Ed have a shorter 3-point line so shots are easier? Is there a magnet in the ball that activates when we have possession? No. The court is the same. The hoops are the same. The jump shot the Huskies take and make at home are going to go the same height and distance at Hec-Ed and on the road, no matter where in the world they are. So what possible reason is there for our team to score less points on the road? It is all mental. The only difference is what locker room the team changes in and the color of the fans in the stadium. That is it. Nothing that should affect their shots, their defensive rotations, or their game plan. Nothing.
  • Rebounding – The Utes struggle to score and they struggle to rebound. The Huskies need to force this trend to continue by scrapping hard on the blocks and getting every rebound in sight. If the Huskies can’t shoot, the least they can do is prevent Utah from shooting.
  • Get Some Heart – How many times did I count the Huskies coming out on the court with no smile, no joy, no heart, no nothing? The answer is WAY TOO MANY TIMES! Wroten seems like the only guy on the court who wants to win and shows it by yelling, chest beating, and smiling. If only the rest of the team could get on his page and show that kind of heart and love of the game. Heart will drive a team to victory more often than not. Rarely do you seen a team who truly gives it their all lose. Look what Isaiah Thomas was able to do against Arizona in the Pac-10 championship game.

Final Thoughts:

I will watch this game. Not because I want to, but because my body needs it to survive. As much as it hurts my head and heart to watch this team collapse on the road, my organs would fail without Husky sports in my life. This team is slowly killing me. Please Romar, save me and this season and grow a pair, win some games, make a run, and play to the talent level you possess.

Final Score Prediction: None. I have no idea. Zero…